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BRIGHTON : 135, north street. 
New York: E. & J. B. YOUNG & CO. 







When I undertook to draw up a brief history of the 
'^ East Anglian Diocese, I was living within a stone's 
* throw of the archives of the see and of the arch- 
^ deaconries of Norfolk and Norwich. By the great 
^ kindness of the keepers of those treasures I had, 
^ in the course of years, acquired some familiarity with 
p them, and in a vague manner I had been making 
C notes and extracts which had accumulated upon 
^ me. I thought it probable that I could write my 
4- book, currente calamo, in three months. Alas ! it is 
f% one thing to know something, or even a great deal, 
J* about your subject, and quite another to know the 
*" subject itself. It ended by my going through all the 
early episcopal registers, page by page, and by my 
filling many volumes with notes, each of those volumes 
more bulky than the little one to which they have 
served as apparatus. It is not likely that the result 
of my labours — if they deserve such a grand name — 
will ever interest any one else as much as the re- 
search itself has interested me. I have laid under 
contribution a very large mass of original sources 

--> -JW 

v>C^ ^ 



which are easily accessible to any one who has served 
his apprenticeships but which, it must be confessed, are 
in a somewhat chaotic condition ; the most important 
of them I may perhaps be allowed to indicate for the 
benefit of others. 

I. The principal Records in the Bishop's Registry 

were noticed in the first Report of the His- 
torical MSS. Commission, but there is a huge 
mass of documents unarranged and little 
known which sorely need to be set in order. 
Perhaps the most valuable of these would 
prove to be the Evidence Books containing 
the depositions of witnesses in Causes Eccle- 
siastical. Students of our social history 
would find here a mine of information which 
has hardly been looked aty certainly not looked 
intOy and which would yield a rich return to 
intelligent research. 

II. The Documents belonging to the Archdeaconry 

of Norfolk are now most carefully preserved, 
but they have not always been under such 
conscientious custody. I have some reason for 
believing that the records, when Tanner was 
archdeacon, went back as far as the thirteenth 
century. Now they contain nothing anterior to 
the sixteenth, not much so early as that. They 
are comparatively of little value or interest. 

III. The Archives of the Archdeaconry of Norwich 


are far more extensive and far more valuable 
than those of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk. 
Indeed, they are so voluminous that it would 
be impossible to arrange them until a suitable 
depository could be provided for them. The 
extreme kindness and courtesy of Mr. Over- 
bury has enabled me to do something at this 
important collection, but it is hopeless to 
think of making any real impression upon it 
as long as every hour that the student bestows 
upon it he feels that he is imposing upon the 
good-nature of a friend on whose hospitality 
he has no claim. 

IV. The Archives of the Archdeaconry of Suffolk, 
I am told, are even more rich than those of 
the Norwich archdeaconry. I have hitherto 
been deterred from visiting them ; but they, 
too, must contain an immense store of 
materials requiring to be calendered and 

V. Of the Documents belonging to the Arch- 

deaconry of Sudbury I can give no account. 
The greater part of this archdeaconry was 
handed over to the see of Ely in 1837, and I 
presume that the bulk of the documents re- 
lating to it passed away from us at that time. 
I happen to know, however, that all the docu- 
ments did not so pass, and that they are 


occasionally to be found where they ought 
not to be. 

VI. The Parochial Registers throughout the diocese 

have bepn wonderfully well preserved, what- 
ever may be said to the contrary. When a 
man has taken notes from parish registers by 
the hundred, and extracted entries by the 
thousand, he is qualified to pronounce an 
opinion upon a question of this kind. He 
knows how much he has to be thankful 

VII. On the other hand, the enormous destruction 
of such books, accounts, and other records 
which were in the custody of the church- 
wardens is past all reckoning. What remain 
are but very insignificant fragments, and rarely 
of any value. 

All such sources of information require to be 
utilised — besides a great many others — ^by any one 
who hopes to get any intimate knowledge of the 
history of a diocese. Unhappily that which has been 
the case elsewhere has been the case in East Anglia, 
the Records have at various times suffered very 
unfair usage, sometimes from mere ignorant careless- 
ness, but sometimes from downright pillage. Foxe, 
the '* Martyrologist," wrought us very grievous wrong. 
He was an intimate friend of Bishop Parkhurst, and 
he evidently had from the bishop the loan of the 


old Registers of the see. He extracted from them 
largely, but he never returned them. At least one of 
them — and how many more I know not — is by a strange 
freak of fortune now in the custody of Cardinal 
Manning. But by far the most shameless plunderer 
of the see, as far as its ancient evidences are con- 
cerned, was Bishop Tanner. During the eleven 
years that he was Archdeacon of Norfolk he seems 
to have treated the Records of the archdeaconry as 
if they were his own, and whenever he got an original 
document into his hands he kept it and added it to 
his collection. That he used his documents well, 
nobody disputes ; but the Tanner MSS. and the 
invaluable Charters and Rolls which he bequeathed 
to the Bodleian tell their own tale. The incom- 
parable catalogues of these collections would certainly 
never have been made if they had not found their 
way to Oxford ; but it is a serious consideration to 
the local antiquary (who is likely to* bring to 
his researches more special knowledge and more 
enthusiasm than is to be looked for in the 
Cosmopolitan) that he must incur the inconvenience 
and expense of a journey to Oxford, and perhaps a 
long sojourn there, before he can consult documents 
which have been removed from their proper home. 
Historical research in the provinces need not be, and 
ought not to be made unnecessarily difficult. Local 
antiquaries are in some sense specialists, and to 


centralise all historical documents, and gather them 
all together into one colossal tabularium^ is going the 
right way to extinguish the local specialist altogether. 

It may be said— and with some justice — that this 
little volume is a ridiculous little mouse to come out 
of years of research. Yes, it may be so. But, as 
one of my correspondents observed to me, some 
people have microscopes. 

That there are no blunders — perhaps silly blunders 
— in the little book I do not at all hope. Of only 
one writer of history that I ever heard of, can it be 
said that he has never been convicted of making a 
mistake ; but the Bishop of Chester is not as other 
men are. 

If any students, other than East Anglians, should 
happen to take up this book, let me suggest to them 
that there are two matters which deserve much more 
attention than they have yet received, and which a 
very little original research would throw great light 
upon. First, the course which the Black Death ran 
and the violence of its incidence upon the clergy in 
the fourteenth century ; and, secondly, the extent to 
which the married clergy were ejected from their 
livings in Queen Mary's time. There is yet another 
matter which the records of the Archdeacons' Courts 
in the various dioceses throw great light \ipon, viz., 
the moral condition of the people and the status 
of the clergy relatively to their flocks. But let me 


warn inquirers in this field of research not to be 
hasty in coming to conclusions, and not to be deterred 
by the dreary monotony and repulsive character of 
too much that will come before them. The picture 
we get of country life, for instance, in the sixteenth 
century, from these records, first startles, then per- 
plexes the student ; by-and-by he sees the absolute 
necessity of withholding his verdict, and that a super- 
ficial examination would tempt him to construct 
almost any theory he set himself to support The 
fact is that any one can be an Old Bailey advocate. 
The judicial faculty — the faculty of weighing and 
sifting evidence, of suspending judgment till the 
whole case has been laid before us, of gathering up 
the clues and testing the strength of every strain, 
— that is a very precious faculty indeed : it is granted 
to few. Meanwhile hasty generalisation can only land 
us upon ground where we can never be sure that we 
have a firm foot-hold. 

It will give me great pleasure to correspond with 
such inteHigent inquirers as may wish to be referred 
to the authorities for any statements I have made in 
the volume. There is one statement the truth of 
which I cannot yet substantiate to my satisfaction, 
though I anf persuaded of the truth of it. 

I should be very ungrateful if I did not acknow- 
ledge my deep obligation to my old friend Dr. Luard, 
Registrar of the University of Cambridge. His 


unrivalled knowledge of mediaeval history, his un- 
bounded generosity in imparting it, and his wonder- 
fully quick eye have assisted me in my ignorance, 
and saved me from error when all other extraneous 
help had left me where I was. 


June II, 1884. 


• • • • • • • « 

• • • 9 1 

• • • • • • 


I. How THE Day Broke 
II. Stormclouds and Sunshine. 

A.D, 669^A.D. 1070 

III. How the Air BEGAN to clear. The Changes 
A.D. 1070-A.D. 1094 

IV. Herbert Losinga, Founder of Norwich. 
A.D. 1096-A.D. 1 1 19 

V. The Century after the Foujjdation. 
A.D. 1119-A.D. 1214 

VI. King Henry's Bishops. 
A.D. 1214-A.D. 1278 

VII. The Diocese under the Edwards. 
A.D. 1278-A.D. 1355 

VIII. During the Papal Schism. 
A.D. 1356-A.D. 141 5 

IX. The Fifteenth Century. 
A.D. 1415-A.D. 1536 

X. Chaos come again. 

A.D. 1536-A.D. 1635 

XI. For Conscience Sake. 
A.D. 1636-A.D. 1691 

4 • • • • I 

• • • • fl 

• • • • < 

» • • •• • • 

» • • • • • 

> • • • • • • 

• • • • 

• • • • • • » 

• 9« ••• ••• ••• « 

» • • i 

• • • • 

• • • • • • 

• • • « 










XII. Onward ! 

A.D. 1691-A.D.1884 215 

Note A to Chapter II. 

The East Anglian Bishops in pre-Norman 

JL X Ml X!#9 ••• •#• >«• ••• ••• ■•• ■•• ••• ^ a)^^ 

Note B to Chapter VI. 

The Lady Chapel 232 

Note C to Chapter VII. 

Itinerary of Archbishop Peckham in Nor- 
folk, a.d. 12S0-1281 232 

Note D to Chapter VIII. 

On some Suffragan Bishops officiating 

in the Diocese of Norwich 234. 

Note E to Chapter X. 

Chronology of Changes in Matters Doc- 
trinal, Ritual, and Ecclesiastical, 
IN THE Sixteenth Century 237 

Note F to Chapter XI 238 

List of Bishops of the See 240 

x^DiL^ ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ■•■ ••' *4j 



" Christianity entered not into this island like lightning, but 
like light." — Thomas Fuller. 

Sixty years before the birth of Christ, Britain was an 
unknown land to the civilised portion of mankind. 
There were stories, more or less vague, of the distant 
isle, mysterious and awful — stories of treasure to be 
found there, pearls and amber and, some whispered, 
even gold, — stories, too, of a strange and terrible 
religion, whose priests were a power greater than 
kings. It was told that they chanted wild psalms 
in chorus, songs and sagas such as had been handed 
down from ages past, — not written words, but a 
heritage which the memory of the carefully-trained 
hierophants preserved and passed on, with now and 
then some gloss or revelation added to the ever- 
growing burden for successive generations to transmit 
to posterity. They taught that the soul was im- 
mortal; released from the body, it wandered else- 
where, whither they could not tell. Peopling the 
woods and deserts, they taught, were hosts of beings, 
malign or friendly, that scared or solaced the settler 

ik' B 

2 NORWICH. [b.C. 55. 

in his rough home. And above, in the infinite ether, 
there dwelt the gods, — the god who sent the thunder: 
the god who gave the sunshine ; one god, whose gift 
was the mighty power of ready speech, and another 
who drove men on in the frenzy of battle, and 
whose thirst was for the captive's blood to moisten 
his ghastly altar. 

To this land, in the year b.c. 55, Julius Caesar 
came. He landed in Britain, and did little more; 
his success was very like failure. Why did he come 
at all, is a question difficult to answer : the most 
probable reply being that he came to chastise the 
Britons for their active support of some Gaulish 
people who had shown themselves formidable an- 
tagonists to the Roman power. Next year Caesar 
came again, and this time he ravaged and slew ; and 
when much blood had been shed and much misery 
wrought, he went back to Gaul, and Britain was left 
unmolested for nearly a hundred years. 

It was not till a.d. 43 that Britain saw a Roman 

invader again, — then she did. It was in that year, 

probably, that the believers were first called Christians 

at Antioch. It was about the time that Saul of 

Tarsus began his ministry ; when James, the brother 

of John, was slain with the sword; when Simon Peter 

was miraculously delivered from prison ; when Herod 

Agrippa was king of Judea, and Claudius was emperor 

at Rome, — that the first real conquest of Britain took 

place. Aulus Plautius was the general who, with a 

large force, made this great settlement upon our 

shores. He stayed four years and he, too, ravaged 

and slew ; but he did something more. In a strait, 


he sent for help to the Emperor Claudius and the 
great sovereign came to visit our island. There was 
no resisting the force of Roman legions ; this time 
thefy came not only to slay, but to settle. Britain, it 
seems, was even then worth the cost of holding and 
it was decided it should be held. 

There is reason to believe that something like 
religious persecution had to do with this early war- 
fare between Rome and Britain. It is certain that 
eighteen years after Aulus Plautius first landed, there 
was a merciless massacre of the Druid priests and 
their most devoted adherents in the isle of Anglesea ; 
it is almost as certain that from that day the old 
British paganism, in so far as it was a regularly 
organised system of religious belief, and culture, and 
ritual, came to an end. Druidism perished by the 
edge of the Roman sword.^ 

From this time the organisation of Britain as a 
Roman province began. Those poor forefathers of 
ours had no such very hard lot of it; they had 
peace and plenty in exchange for ceaseless war, but 
the old Religion was gone for ever. Did the Romans, 
or any devout and earnest men and women among 
them, do anything to supply the need and to fill the 
aching void which the heart feels when there is only 
emptiness there ? Who knows ? Over those early 
times there hangs a veil, and who shall raise it ? 
Now and then it is hfted, as when story tells of St. 
Alban, in the year 283, giving up his life for the 
faith of Christ; and when early records prove that 

' Tac, "Annals," xiv. 30. 
B 2 

4 • NORWICH. [ac. 55- 

three British bishops, and one priest and deacon, 
were at the Council of Aries in 314; and when 
writers of the fourth century speak of Britain as a. 
Christian land, not unaffected by the party cries 
which from the beginning have been heard within 
the Church's pale, and whose absence is no sign of 
union, or zeal, or love. At any rate, before the 
Romans released their hold of Britain, — gave up the 
colony, in fact, and left it to self-government, — the 
land may be said to have been Christianised. If 
Christianity was not in some sense the religion of 
the people, nothing was ; as to its form or ritual, its 
purity or influence, perhaps it is well we know but 
little about it. 

The Romans left Britain finally a.d. 410, and with 
their departure hard times began. It is always a 
trial for a people who have been kept for generations 
in leading-strings to be left to take care of themselves : 
the better they have been governed heretofore the 
worse for them when they are given over to self- 
elected rulers of a lower stamp than their old mas- 
ters ; and Britain, cut adrift from Roman guidance, 
support and administration, fell into a condition of 

Neighbouring people were not slow to make use of 
their opportunity, so the marauders came across the 
sea. The Angles landed on the east coast of our 
island, and little by little they established a kingdom 
known by the name of East Anglia, 

It will be near enough to the truth if we say that 
this kingdom extended from the Stour to the Wash ; 
that it was bounded on the north and east by the 


sea; that on the west it was shut off from the territory 
of the Middle Angles by enormous morasses, uncul- 
tivated and undrained ; and that on the south the 
Stour served as the boundary which separated it 
from the kingdom of the East Saxons, which we call 

The coast-line of East Anglia has altered much in 
the thirteen centuries that have passed since the time 
we are speaking of, though less than some would 
have us believe. It has altered most on the northern 
coast ; and yet Brancaster was an important fortress 
before the East Angles came, and Castor and Burgh 
were mighty citadels on the banks of the estuary, 
which needed only to be defended to serve as 
bulwarks against the assaults of the savage invaders 
who came swarming across the sea. Doubtless, they 
came in at every little entry which the numerous 
harbours on the Norfolk coast afforded. These have, 
for the most part, silted up since those old days, but 
in the fifth and sixth centuries their number con- 
stituted the weakness of the Norfolk shore. Nor- 
folk was a tempting prize for the spoiler : through 
the length and breadth of it the Roman colonist 
had planted and builded. He had made roads and 
harbours, castles and towers ; everywhere the traces 
of his occupation remain. Even at the present day 
the ploughman, with his share, turns up here and 
there hoarded treasures of money, coined, perhaps, 
in some Norfolk mint less than a hundred years 
before the Roman legions took their final departure. 
But the invaders swept away before them the remnants 
of Roman refinement, and spared no institutions and 


no creeds. What churches, or clergy, or schools, 
existed under the protection or toleration of Roman 
governors in East Anglia we cannot tell ; the ruthless 
invaders stamped them all out, and for two hundred 
years or so darkness covered the land, and gross 
darkness the people — the light of the Gospel had 
been put out, and a brutal paganism bore undisputed 
sway. Then at last a better time began. 




The kingdom of the East Angles was not founded 
in a day. The Angles came across the sea in bands, 
each under an independent chieftain. The several 
bands moved like huge gipsy hordes, or like the 
colonists of the Roman Republic, prepared to occupy 
the lands of a people who were too weak to hold their 
own, and were to be dispossessed without compunc- 
tion and without pity. The old inhabitants became 
the conquerors' bondsmen. By-and-by the separate 
bands, or clans, or tribes, drew more and more closely 
together, — though the Northerners and the South- 
erners (the Northfolk and the Southfolk) continued to 
entertain some jealousy of each other to the last, — 
and there was a tendency to consolidate into a single 
homogeneous body under a single head. 

Outside the borders of East Anglia there were 
strotig kingdoms with strong rulers who governed 
them ; with these kingdoms the Angles had little to 
do : tjiey kept themselves to themselves, and to their 
pagan practices. Their defences lay in the vast 
morasses extending from Lynn to Ely; indeed, as 
far as Cambridge, and the swamps that stagnated 
between the Colne and the Stour. While across the 
dniy piece of high ground on their frontier, stretching 
from fen to fen, rose up that marvel of human toil, 

8 NORWICH. [a.D. 620. 

the Devirs Dyke — a stupendous rampart serving to 
keep out the marauders who might be induced to 
" lift " the flocks and herds, but would find it very 
hard to escape with their spoil over so huge a barrier. 
Thus it came to pass that for 150 years or more the 
East Angles were a people apart We know very 
little of them or their doings — how they lived or what 
they believed. Christians they certainly were not; 
nay, they made a clean sweep of all that remained of 
the old Christianity — it vanished! Hence, when 
Augustine, the apostle of England, landed in Kent 
in 597, East Anglia cared nothing for his coming: 
the Gospel did not overpass the barrier of swamp 
and fen. The Devil's Dyke helped to keep out the 
light of the truth. When Augustine died in May, 
605, and King -^thelbert, his royal convert, followed 
him to the grave eleven years after (February 24, 
616) ; and Eadbald was king of Kent, and was showing 
signs of an evil mind ; and the mission, begun so 
auspiciously, seemed on the point of collapsing, — it 
is small wonder that Augustine's successor at Canter- 
bury, Archbishop Laurence, felt his heart fail. Just 
when he was tempted to forsake his post and let the 
Saxons fall back into their paganism, fresh encourage- 
ment came. 

When -^thelbert died, there was a king of East 
Anglia named Redwald, who had grown to be a 
power outside the limits of his own narrow borders, 
for he was chosen Bretwalda, as men then called 
the Chief Ruler in England. Redwald had been a 
pagan; but, for what seem to have been reasons 
of state, when -^thelbert was dying or was dead, 

A.D. 631.] HOW THE DAY BROKE. 9 

Redwald made a journey into Kent, and there 
accepted baptism. On his return into his own 
land he proved but a half-hearted convert, and 
he "halted between two opinions," — between the 
old heathen practices and the new faith which he 
had been led to embrace, or at least, to profess. 
His wife was a woman of strong will, and she clung 
to the old gods, and King Redwald's nobles were all 
for the old gods too, and it ended by the king going 
wrong. But he did one good thing in his time, 
which prepared the way for the better days that were 
coming : he stood by his friend. Prince Edwin, who 
had trusted himself to Redwald's honour ; and, when 
powerful foes tried to bribe and to scare him that he 
should betray the young prince, he scorned to lend 
himself to treachery, and he drew his sword against 
his friend's enemies and helped him to recover his 
throne. However, East Anglia was none the less 
pagan, and continued so as long as Redwald lived 
and for some years after, even though he was Bret- 
walda, and the first Christian king that ruled over the 
land. When he died, Eorpwald, his son, succeeded 
him as king ; but Prince Edwin became Bretwalda, 
or Chief Ruler, and a true Christian he was. After 
awhile, Edwin tried hard to induce Eorpwald and his 
people to accept the Gospel, and Eorpwald would 
gladly have done so, but again the East Anglian 
nobles fiercely resisted the change ; and when King 
Eorpwald, with much earnestness and zeal, tried to 
bring them to a better mind, one of them, Ricbert by 
name, smote the king that he died, and there was 
much trouble in East Anglia, and for three years the 

lO NORWICH. [a.D. 631. 

pagans had it all their own way. At last (a.d. 631), 
SiGEBERT, half-brother to Eorpwald, found himself 
king of East Anglia. The new king had passed some 
years in what is now called France, and there he had 
lived among Christian men of piety and learning, and 
had learned all that the best teachers of the time could 
teach him, insomuch that they called him Sigebert 
THE Learned. When he came to his kingdom he 
proved too strong for the rude chiefs, and he turned 
not to the right hand nor the left when he once 
resolved that his people should be brought to the 
knowledge of the Christ. 

Augustine had now been dead more than thirty 
years, and his three successors had in like manner 
passed away. Honorius now filled the place of chief 
ruler of the Church in England, — a man of wisdom 
and devotion, and with an apostle's heart Just as 
Sigebert began to reign, there landed upon our island 
a certain Burgundian clergyman whose spirit God 
had moved to cross the seas and preach the Gospel 
among the heathen in Britain. This man went to 
Archbishop Honorius, and left himself in the Arch- 
bishop's hands to do with him as he would; and 
Honorius, when he found what temper he was of, 
sent the new-comer to King Sigebert. His name was 
Felix. Sigebert was glad, and after awhile he would 
have Felix become the one bishop in his kingdom ; 
and forasmuch as at this time the Southfolk were 
of more account than the Northfolk, and foras- 
much, too, as it was well that the bishop of East 
Anglia should have his home where there was 
most doing— most trade and commerce, and large 


gatherings of people, — it was settled that the site of the 
bishop's dwelling, and the chair on which he sat 
when he spoke with authority, and the home centre 
from which he did his work, should be fixed at what 
was then a flourishing seaport. Thus Felix, the 
Burgundian missionary, became Bishop of Dunwich, 
and Dunwich was the first bishopric in East Anglia. 

Felix was for seventeen years bishop of Dunwich, 
and he showed conspicuous wisdom in the conduct 
of his diocese. He did not trust to preaching only : 
a man of learning himself, he knew what a mighty 
power education may become, if it be really religious 
education ; and he set up a school in East Anglia, 
taught, it would seem, by those who were engaged 
with him in the work of evangelising, the pagan 
people, and this school soon got a great name.^ 
Bishop Felix met with extraordinary success as an 
evangeliser, and his fame travelled far. Sigebert's 
reign was brief, and after him king succeeded king in 
East Anglia with sad rapidity ; yet Felix stayed at 
his post, and his work continued to prosper. The best 
proof of his success was that, spite of all the strife 
and warfare, the people of East Anglia became more 
and more content and happy; and for seventeen years 
Felix was practically the chief ruler : for, though the 
kings rose and fell, fought and fled and died, Felix 

^ I cannot doubt that this school was the '*coetum non mini> 
mum monachorum," which the traditions of a later age credited 
Felix with having raised at Saham-Tony (Norfolk). The story 
of the exciting boai-race between the monks of Ramsey and 
those of Ely on Soham Mere (in Cambridgeshire), for the bones 
of St. Felix, may be read in the *'Hist. Ramesiensis,*' apud 
Gale, Scriptores xv. p. 437. 

12 NORWICH. [a.D. 631-647. 

continued to be the counsellor and adviser of them, 
each and all, and they looked up to him, and none 
doubted but that he would be their most powerful 
supporter if they could gain his friendship. 

And thus, as I have said, the fame of this East 
Anglian bishop spread abroad into other lands, and 
they whose hearts were warm with zeal for good 
things desired to see Felix, and to learn the secret 
of his success, and to hear his voice and receive his 
counsel. Among these, there came from across the 
sea one Fursey, an Irishman, and with him came two 
of his brethren, Fullan and Ultan by name, and two 
priests, who were called Gobban and Dicul. Fursey 
was a monk ; that is, he was one who had bound 
himself by a vow to give his whole life to the service 
of God, and he had set out with his little company 
from their own country to help Bishop Felix in 
spreading the knowledge of the Gospel. 

In those days to be a monk meant something 
very different from what it got to mean in the after- 
time ; and Fursey and his friends were not the men 
to shrink from toil and hardship. Five-and-twenty 
miles from Dunwich, as the crow flies, on the edge of 
what is now called Breydon Water, a small tract of 
land rose in those days a few feet above the wide 
expanse of mud and ooze which surrounded it on all 
sides, and which, even to this day, makes the district 
at low tide appear drearily desolate and forbidding. 
During the Roman occupation a fortress had been 
built here by the great conquerors, in which a 
strong garrison was maintained to hold in check 
the pirates (who were ready to work havoc upon the 

A.D. 631-647-] HOW THE DAY BROKE. 1 3 

shipping at sea) and to overawe the turbulence of 
refractory subjects on land. The Romans had called 
it Garianonum, but it had long ago become a mere 
lonely ruin. The Angles had never dreamt of keeping 
up the vast fortifications and massive walls; they 
called the place Cnobbesburgh, and we know it now 
as Burgh Castle. In Bishop Felix's days it must 
have been as wild and cheerless a spot as could be 
found. This place Fursey fixed his eyes upon, and 
begged that he might be permitted to go and dwell 
there. For the busy haunts of the multitude, their 
buying and selling, their intrigues and strife, their 
comforts, and ease, and corrupting luxury, — Fursey, 
and such as he — pledged to lead the higher life — 
looked upon these as fraught with danger to the soul. 
Let the bishop — the ruler of God's people — live 
where he might, but the monk must live away from 
the world, and turn his back upon it. So Fursey 
went his way to Cnobbesburgh, and there from the 
masonry of the old Roman walls that were crumbling 
he built a house for such as wished to retire from the 
cares and temptations of the world, and serve God 
more strictly than elsewhere it was possible. It was 
probably a little before this that King Sigebert too, 
sick of all the quarrels and strife from which there 
seemed to be no escape, turned his back upon the 
world, resigned his crown, and hid himself in another 
retreat at a place which then was called Bederics- 
worth, but which afterwards gained the name of 
St. Edmondsbury. These two houses are said to 
have been the first two Monasteries in East Anglia, 
but they very little resembled the grand establish- 

14 NORWICH. [a.D. 652. 

ments of the after-time. They can have had very 
little to attract the frivolous or the insincere, and 
the life these recluses led was hard, laborious, and 
painful. The famous Rule of St, Benedict had only 
found its way into Britain about thirty years before 
Bishop Felix's day, and the Angles were as yet quite 
unprepared for such an institution as a monastery. 

Bishop Felix gave up his soul to God on the 8th 
March, 647, and was buried at Dunwich, where and 
whence he had laboured so long. In his place they 
chose one Thomas by name, born, we are told, in the 
Fen country, which may mean hard by Lynn or down 
near Ely ; in any case, he was an East Anglian born. 
There is this notable about him, that he was only the 
second Englishman consecrated to take the oversight 
of any English see, the first having been Ithamar, 
the Kentishman, consecrated bishop of Rochester 
three years before. We hear very little of Bishop 
Thomas, or, indeed, of his successors in the episco- 
pate, for some time to come ; no one of them seems 
to have been a leading spirit, but it is pretty certain 
that they were quietly labouring in East Anglia, and 
not labouring in vain. Meanwhile, the great chiefs, 
who had been too strong for Redwald and his suc- 
cessors, gave but a sullen toleration to the new creed, 
and their hearts went after their idols; and they 
would not consent that great tracts of land should be 
given to such people as might be inclined to found a 
religious establishment. So Bishop Felix died (647), 
and Bishop Thomas (652); and one Bertgils, 
who, for some reason, chose to change his name to 
Boniface, followed. Btit still there were no great 


churches, and no great monastic or ecclesiastical 
foundations in East Anglia. 

It was in the year 655, when Boniface had been 
bishop of Dunwich three years, that a dreadful catas- 
trophe befel the reigning house. Penda the Prompt, 
king of Mercia, " the last unshaken and powerful ad- 
herent of paganism among the Anglo-Saxons," ^ burst 
in upon the Anglian land, which was then ruled by a 
king called Anna; and the king went out to meet the 
invader, but he fell by the edge of the sword, and 
there was huge slaughter of his people. Then Penda 
the Prompt (a.d. 655) ravaged the land, and set up 
^THELHERE, Anna's brother, as king in his stead, — 
for Anna had no son. And yet, says Bede, Anna 
was " the parent of good children, and was happy in 
a good and holy progeny," for he left behind him 
four daughters, and they were all ladies of a devout 
temperament and with a zeal for godliness according 
to their light ; and they all renounced the pleasures 
of this world and. retired to spend their days in prayer 
and praise, and in the practice of gentle ministrations 
and religious austerity. 

Sexburga, the eldest daughter, had married Ercon- 
bert, king of Kent, and when he was carried off by 
the plague in 664 she became regent of the kingdom. 
Wearying of the duties that devolved upon her, she 
soon took refuge in a convent which she had founded 
in the Isle of Sheppey; but after remaining there for 
some years she joined her sister, Etheldreda, who had 
got to herself a great name by her devout enthusiasm 

* Lapp., i. 164. 

1 6 NORWICH. [a.D. 655. 

in founding, among the gloomy morasses on the borders 
of her own land, the famous monastery of Ely, — a 
marvel of grandeur even in the seventh century, and 
out of whose ashes in the after-time rose up to heaven 
that glorious pile which still amazes the traveller who 
is passing by the iron road from Cambridge to Nor- 
wich. A third sister, Ethelberga, crossed the 
Channel and died abbess of Brie; and a fourth, 
WiTBERGA, remained in her own land and passed her 
days at East Dereham in devout retirement, but left 
no great and abiding monument behind her. Nor 
were these all of the house of King Anna who were 
possessed by a yearning for the higher life as they 
imaged it according to the belief of their times. For 
Anna's brother, Ethelhere, whom Penda the Prompt 
had set up as king when Anna was slain, had married 
another devout princess in whose heart the grace of 
God was working mightily, and her name was Here- 
swiTH. She, when trouble came upon her, and it 
came heavily, fled away and became a nun at Cfulles^ 
near Paris, where it is probable she had passed her girl- 
hood, and had, with others of her kindred, received 
her schooling. But more famous than all these five 
was Hereswith's sister, Hilda, the great foundress of 
Whitby Abbey, in the Northumbrian land, of whom 
this is not the place to speak ; for, though she tried 
to do some pious work amongst the East Angles, she 
did it not, and of monasteries within the borders of 
that land as yet there were none that had any great 
name or fame. 

When the queen Hereswith retired from the world, 
she left her son behind her, for she had a son by 

A.D. 669.] HOW THE DAY BROKE. 1 7 

-/Ethelhere, Aldwulf by name, and he was king of the 
East Angles. The impress of his mother's training 
remained upon him, and the prayers of the saintly 
Hilda had not been offered up in vain. The reign 
of King Aldwulf was long and prosperous, and it 
was the reign of a Christian king ; and when he died 
in 713, he died at peace with all men,^ but he left 
only three daughters behind him. As others of their 
kindred had done, so did they ; they took refuge in 
the life of the cloister. Eadburgh became abbess 
of Repton, in Mercia, and Ethelburga and Hw.«t- 
BURGA, the other daughters, were successively 
abbesses of Hackness, in the Northumbrian land. 

It was in the reign of King Aldwulf that the pope 
of Rome sent into England another of those great 
leaders who leave their mark upon their own times,, 
and shape the lives and mould the thoughts and 
habits of men for ages after they themselves have 
passed away. This man was Theodore of Tarsus, 
appointed to preside over the see of Canterbury and 
govern the Church in England. He was in his sixty- 
seventh year, but he had never had experience of 
any parochial cure, nor, till his nomination, had he 
even been ordained. Yet he proved himself a bom 
ruler, and exactly the man that England needed to 
bring into living and loving union the bishops in 
the petty kingdoms into which our island was then 
divided. Heretofore they had been doing the work 
of evangelising in too great isolation, and they needed 
to be knit together into a compact and well-disciplined 

* His name appears among the signatories to the Council of 
Hatfield, Sept. 17, 688. — Hadden and Stubbs, iiL, 141. 


1 8 NORWICH. [a.D. 669. 

body, " moving all together when they moved at all." 
It was in 669 (May 27) that Theodore took his seat 
as archbishop in the great church at Canterbury, and 
it was seventy-two years since Augustine had set foot 
upon our shores. In the inter\'al that had elapsed, 
the vast extension of the area over which the Gospel 
had spread its hallowing influence, and the mighty 
force which it had exercised upon princes and people, 
had wrought a prodigious revolution in the fabric of 
society. The English bishops, however, still needed 
direction, counsel, and oversight from head-quarters ; 
pretty much in the same way that, in our own days, 
the bishops cf New Zealand or South Africa look to 
Canterbury for support and aid in their difficulties, 
and are loyal in their allegiance to, and proud of 
their connexion with, the mother Church at home. 
But the English Church had become far more self- 
supporting than any of our colonial Churches are, 
and as kings had been among her nursing fathers, 
and queens her nursing mothers, she had already 
become very wealthy, and her bishops were among 
the great ones of the land. 

So, again, the educational work of the clergy, and 
of those who were then their devoted and most able 
auxiliaries, the monks — their zeal not yet grown cold; 
their faith not clouded ; their hearts aglow with the 
consuming fire of love and the flame of enthusiasm, — 
the educational work, I say, had produced unexampled 
effects. Everywhere, by this time, the Gospel had 
been received with gladness of heart, and it had 
become easy to find Englishmen quite fitted for the 
episcopal office. The danger was now lest the work 


A.D. 673-] HOW THE DAY BROKE. 19 

which had grown so rapidly should prove more than 
the bishops could do efficiently: in other words, 
there was need of more bishops ; need of that which 
we of late have been compelled to think much 
about — the sub-division of the English dioceses. One 
of the first things which Theodore set himself to 
provide for was this very object, and he carried it 
out on a large scale. Among other dioceses, that of 
DuNWiCH was divided into two; for Bisi, the bishop, 
was old, and his journeys told upon him, and 
he felt unequal to his work. Theodore, taking 
counsel with Aldwulf the king, suffered Bisi to 
lay down his office, and in his room he consecrated 
two bishops — one to labour among the Southfolk 
from the old centre at Dunwich, and one to be 
bishop among the Northfolk from a new centre, 
Elmham, in the heart of the country, where formerly 
a Roman magistrate had had his seat of government 
on high ground, and where there still existed some 
extensive remnants of the old Roman grandeur. 
Here, in the year a.d. 673, Bedwin was consecrated 
bishop over the northern half of the original East 
Anglian diocese, while Acci, or, as some ^all him, 
Em, was appointed to preside over the southern 
half and to take the place of bishop at Dunwich, 
with a less unwieldly bishopric than Bisi and his pre- 
decessors had administered heretofore. This came to 
pass less than seventy-one years after Augustine fell 
asleep at Canterbury, and little more than 260 years 
after the Roman legions left our forefathers to defend 
themselves against the heathen. 

c 2 

20 NORWICH. [a.D. 669, 



When Archbishop Theodore landed in Kent in 
May, 669, he knew that he had no time to lose ; his 
youth was past, and the night in which no man can 
work was drawing nigh. We are told that in that 
same year, 669, the archbishop made a visitation of 
all England, and, it is added, he was the first prelate 
to whom all the English bishops made submission, 
acknowledging him as their primate and head. 

In those days people were more easily governed 
than now ; it was an age when " the man that could 
rule and dare not lie " found the masses willing to 
submit to his sway, the yearning to be led was 
stronger than the hankering to be rid of all control. 
Outside the Church's pale, the petty kings were 
scheming, plotting and warring each against the other; 
within that pale there was unity of purpose and 
unity of action. The one Faith tended to make 
men, in their better moments, of one mind. Thus 
it came to pass that the English bishops gladly gave 
their allegiance to Theodore, and while the king of 
Mercia to-day, or the king of Wessex to-morrow, or 
the king of Northumbria a third day, might be laying 
plots against his rivals, or taking measures to thwart 
their ambitious projects, the bishops, under their 


head at Canterbury, held together as one man ; and 
while discord and mutual suspicion were acting as ele- 
ments of weakness and disintegration in the kingdoms 
of the world, the ecclesiastical organisation, uniting 
compactly together the several chiefs of the Church 
for concerted action, was steadily and surely helping 
forward the growth of a power which must sooner 
or later become dominant for good or evil. While 
Theodore was primate, all men were the better for 
his wise rule. We are expressly told that those days 
were the happiest and the most prosperous that England 
had known since the Romans left the land. England 
was a Christian country, heathenism had been van- 
quished and abolished, the Cross had triumphed. 

The bringing in of the Gospel in the days of 
Augustine had resulted in a great religious awaken- 
ing ; the coming of Theodore and his associates was 
followed by a great intellectual movement. Schools 
were set up in every diocese; children were taught the 
languages of Greece and Rome, and the rudiments of 
arithmetic, music,and astronomy; but a knowledge of 
Holy Scripture was the basis of all education. With 
a view to keeping alive an esprit de corps among the 
clergy, and of ensuring unity of action, Theodore 
summoned a council on the 24th September, 673, at 
Hertford, at which all the bishops in England were 
present in person or by deputy ; and at this council 
it was resolved that every year a general synod should 
be held at a place called Clovesho,^ at which the 
bishops of every diocese should attend. The grand 

* It is not known where this place was. 

22 NORWICH. [a.D. 673. 

idea was not strictly carried out, — indeed, during 
Theodore's primacy, no synod was held at Clovesho 
at all ; yet from this time we may certainly date that 
practice of frequent assemblies of the chief rulers of 
the Church, records of whose proceedings have been 
handed down to our own day. Meagre as these 
records are, they are nevertheless sufficient to prove 
clearly that, during all those centuries which elapsed 
between the coming of Theodore and the coming of 
the Conqueror, the life of faith and prayer and praise 
was never allowed to grow quite dead in England ; 
and that the bishops of the several Churches worked 
together, on the whole, harmoniously. Of the bishops 
of East Anglia during this period we know scarcely 
anything but their names : indeed, the stream of history 
almost flows past that little kingdom, guarded by the 
sea on one side, and by fens and morasses on the other; 
and while Wessex and Mercia and Northumbria were 
engaged in ceaseless warfare for the supremacy over 
all, which each aimed at, in East Anglia there was 
that approximation to anarchy which is wont to grow 
up among a people where there is no master-mind in 
Church or State to stamp the impress of his own 
personality upon the community. During a century 
and a half after Theodore's time, the names of the 
East Anglian bishops appear regularly among the 
signatures to the acts of the National Synods ;' with 
the coming of the Danes they disappear, and, for 
nearly a hundred years, of not a single East Anghan 
bishop is there any mention or record. Meanwhile, 
it is worthy of notice that, where these" names do 
occur, they are the names of Englishmen, and no 


nominees of Rome ; native-born Norfolk and Suffolk 
men not ashamed to be called as bishops what 
they had been called by their people all their lives ; 
not men to give in to the fantastic notion that 
a Latin quadrisyllable was a grander title than an 
English dissyllable. All these bishops doubtless spoke 
Latin as easily as a Belgian gentleman now speaks 
French, but they^// like Englishmen, and their hearts 
were with those who were of their own blood. That 
they laboured steadily and with good effect is plain from 
the fact that, when the evil days came, the plunderers 
found so much to rob, and that they turned their fury 
so often upon the houses of God in the land. But evil 
days did come, — very evil days. Rumours of the wealth 
and prosperity of our island had gone forth into all 
lands, and the heathen people on the other side of 
the sea were tempted by the stories which travellers 
spread. The Northmen manned their ships and 
sailed away to see if some vast booty might not be 
gained. They came, and they met with a much 
feebler resistance than they could have expected. 
It is said they landed first in Dorsetshire in 787 : 
they settled first in East Anglia in 866. 

We read that in this year " a great heathen army 
came to the land of the English nation, and took up 
their winter-quarters among the East Angles, and 
there they were housed ; and the East Angles made 
peace with them." These were those terrible North- 
men whom we call the Danes, and of whom it is 
enough to say that they were really heathen, as the 
Chronicle calls them. They had a religion of their 
own J such as it was; a religion that ran exactly counter 

24 NORWICH. [a.D. 867. 

to the Gospel of Christ, the spirit that animated 
it, and the habits that it tended to form. It was 
a religion for rude warriors, and when it had helped 
to make them that it could do no more for them. 
But to that fierce creed it seems that these Danes 
were true, and it may be — it may be — that our Eng- 
lish forefathers, in their years of peace, had not been 
true to M«> creed, and needed the fiery trial through 
which, in the ninth century, their Christianity was 
called upon to pass. 

The Danes first passed the winter in East Anglia 
in 867, and there they prepared their host for the 
campaign of the next spring. Then they set forth, 
and for three years they ravaged and slew. They 
laid waste the country now known as Yorkshire, 
Northumberland, and Notts, and in the winter of 
870 they came back, and, as the Chronicle tells 
us, they took up their winter-quarters at Thetford. 
But, while they were away, the men of East Anglia 
had gathered heart. East Anglia had then a Christian 
king, and his name was Edmund. He abhorred the 
doings of the heathen marauders and all their fero- 
cious godlessness, and he persuaded his own people 
to follow him and to strike one blow for freedom 
from the oppressor. So he fought a great battle with 
the Danes near Bury in Suffolk ; but they were too 
strong for him, and the men of East Anglia fled, and 
their king was taken. The Danish chieftains would 
have spared his life, but they would do so only upon 
one condition, — he must renounce the faith of his 
baptism, and abjure the Saviour and His Cross. 
Thereupon King Edmund made his choice like a 


brave and true man ; and the Danes bound him to 
a tree and shot at him with arrows that he died. 
Then they cut off the king's head and they went 
their ways. 

This is that Edmund whom men in the after-time 
reverenced as a saint of God, and who gave his name 
to the place where he was slain, and which, since 
those days, has been called Bury St Edmund's. This 
is that Edmund whose name was given to many another 
house of God in East Anglia, and whose picture may 
still be seen painted on many a rood-screen — as it 
was once frequently to be seen on the church walls— 
to the intent that those who came after might be 
reminded of the story of the king's glorious end, and 
be stimulated to follow the example of him who had 
preferred death to denying his Lord. 

There must have been something of the nature of 
a religious war* in this revolt of the East Anglians 
from the domination of the Danes. The story of 
King Edmund's death points this way ; and perhaps 
the king had stirred up his people by telling them it 
was a scandal for Christian men to be the servants of 
the Pagans. Be that as it may, the revolt was no 
sooner suppressed than the Danes seem to have said : 
"Let us make havoc of them altogether," and inafrenzy 
of exasperation they began to burn and destroy as 
they had never done before. The full force of their 
attack fell upon the churches and monasteries. In 
East Anglia itself there do not seem to have been 
any important religious foundations ; but, on the edge 
of the little kingdom among the swamps and dread- 
ful morasses, four great religious houses had risen up 

26 NORWICH. [a.D. 867. 

where men in companionship were trying to live the 
higher life ; where they were trying to cultivate the 
arts of peace, though war was for ever howling round 
them ; where they professed to teach the young and 
ignorant, to proclaim the beauty of holiness, and to 
witness for the grandeur of the Gospel of purity and 
love in an age of cruelty, lust, and rapine ; where im- 
perfectly and sometimes foolishly, — sometimes, too, 
after a fashion that we have been taught to disapprove, 
— they spent their days in justifying the works of 
God to man, and became the centres of culture 
and civilisation, — the pioneers of progress in their 
generation. These four great monasteries were : Peter- 
borough, founded by Oswy more than two hundred 
years before this time ; Crowland, which had already 
risen to something like splendour; Thorney, an 
early offshoot from Peterborough, and destined to 
become by-and-by one of the grandest of them all ; 
and Ely, where two communities, one of monks and 
the other of nuns, still kept up the life of prayer and 
praise while ministering to the poor, the ignorant, 
and the sorrowing. All these four great houses did 
the Danes — because they were religious institutions — 
ruthlessly destroy; and that which the Chronicle says 
of one is true of all : — " They came and burned and 
beat it down, slew the abbot and monks and all that 
they found there. And that place, which before was 

full rich, they reduced to nothing." 

This was the first great suppression of the monas- 
teries in England, and, as far as East Anglia was 
concerned, it was as complete and unsparing as that 
which followed seven centuries after. 


It was during the year after the pillage of the 
monasteries that Alfred — deservedly called The 
Great — became king of Wessex by the death of his 
brother ^thelred. 

Alfred was then 22 years old, but he had already 
done enough to make all men regard him as the one 
hope of his people and the only man who, under 
God, could be their leader and champion in the 
struggle that had now begun in earnest against the 
Danes. This is not the place to say much about 
King Alfred — the hero king who rises out of the 
mists of bygone centuries as a figure of colossal 
proportions, and who, when all the mists are cleared 
away, still stands forth as the Christian ruler of his 
people, large of heart and clear of brain and dauntless 
in courage, with a patriot's love and zeal for England's 
welfare. But it must be told that for eight years after 
the first suppression of the monasteries, as I have 
called it, which marks an era in the history of East 
Anglia, there was ceaseless war between Alfred and 
the Danes, whose king was Guthorm, and that this 
warfare came to a close at last by a peace that was 
made at Wedmore in Somersetshire about the middle 
of June, 878. The terms of the peace were that 
Guthorm the Dane was to leave Wessex and was to 
keep East Anglia, together with a large portion of 
other territory north of the Humber and south of the 
Stour, and leave the rest of England to Alfred and 
those who stood by him. But the most memorable 
condition of the peace was that Guthorm the Dane 
should give up his heathenism and accept the Gospel 
as the religion of his people. Accordingly, when the 

28 NORWICH. [a.D. 890. 

peace was made, Guthorm was baptised into the 
Faith of Christ, and Alfred stood as his godfather, 
and he took the new name of Athelstan. Once 
during his latter years he broke the peace which he 
had made, but it seems it was only once, and we know 
not the cause. For ten years he ruled as king, and 
he died in 890. "He abode in East Anglia" the 
Chronicle says, and it adds significantly, "he first 
settled t\i2X country." 

For thirty years and more after Guthorm-Athel- 
stan's death, East Anglia was wholly Danish, and 
only rare notices occur of what was going on within 
her borders. We hear nothing of the Christian 
bishops who ruled over the diocese, but it is almost 
certain that Christianity, so far from declining, became 
more and more generally accepted ; and that after a 
certain rough fashion the Danes became evangelised,^ 
and that churches continued to be built, and even 
some monasteries were revived. We hear no more 
of any bishop of Dunwich ; it is probable that the 
town seriously declined in prosperity and importance 
during the Danish occupation and that the incursions 
of the sea wrought tremendous loss to the trade and 
shipping. Meanwhile the position of Elmham in 
the middle of Norfolk gave it great advantage as the 
site for a bishop's see, and when the East Anglian 
bishops once more come before us in the records, 
they are bishops of Elmham and as such apparently 
bishops of the whole of East Anglia. 

The Danish power received a tremendous reverse 

^ Odo, Danstan*s predecessor in the archbishopric of Can- 
erbury, was a Dane. 


just fifty years after the cruel raid against the monas- 
teries. It was the great Alfred's son, Edward the 
Elder, who smote them in the year 921, and he 
brought them under subjection, and firom that time 
East Anglia became English once more. Soon after 
this event we meet again with the name of an feast 
Anglian bishop, and a notable man he was. Deodred, 
or Theodred, was bishop of London as early as 926, 
and he continued to fill that see as late as 95 1 ; but 
London was not the only see over which he presided. 
He seems to have been bishop of Elmham as well,^ 
and when he died he made certain bequests to his 
eastern diocese in his will, which is still preserved. 
In this will he speaks of the Minster in connexion 
with HoxNE in Suffolk, " at my bishopric," but it is 
not known where the Minster was. While eodred 
was bishop, that great revival of monasticism began 
all over England which was destined to work such 
momentous changes in the social and intellectual life 
of our fathers during the centuries that followed. 
The Danish suppression had produced very important 
results. In many cases there had been frightful 
slaughter of the monks ; in others there had been 
time for them to escape, though always there had 
been ruthless pillage and devastation. The churches 

* See Kemble in the "Proceedings of the Arch. Inst.," 184, 
p. 53. Deodred is clearly the Bishop of London who was 
found fault with by the Londoners for spending so much money 
on a shrine over St. Edmund's body at Bury. They were 
jealous of the favour shown to the eastern diocese. Malmesbury, 
G. P., p. 154. As to one bishop holding two sees, Dunstan 
himself, six years after the death of Deodred, held the bishopric 
of Worcester with that of London. 

3© NORWICH. [a.D. 921. 

and other monastic buildings had sometimes been left 
standing (when the flames had been more merciful 
than the robbers), and in a few cases even the libraries 
were spared; but the life of the monasteries had really 
been crushed out, and the very name of monastery 
was preserved only as giving a title to the ownership 
of lands : the abbots and monks, if there were any 
that called themselves so, being really secular priests^ 
and clerks. 

In the tenth century a feeling grew that in the 
then condition of the Church and the world, there was 
a need for the revival of the cloister life and of all 
the good that the cloister life represented, and soon 
the revival came. The great leader of the movement 
was iEthelwald, bishop of Winchester, and his great 
supporter (though a far less uncompromising and 
furious supporter than has hitherto been generally 
believed ^} was Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury, and 
eventually archbishop of Canterbury. The struggle 
for the revival of the monasteries was mixed up with 
another struggle with which it had no necessary con- 
nexion, — I mean the struggle to prevent the marriage 
of the clergy. One of the reasons why monasticism 
had so completely broken up in England after the 
Danish suppression in 867, was thai there was no 

^ As the terms will often be used hereafter, it may be as well 
to explain here, that the Regulars were those who lived under 
a rule {regula). The Seculars were those who were the worldly 
clergy, — parish priests or others not attached to any religious 

* "Dunstan in reality seems to have been much more of a 
statesman than of an ecclesiastic." — E. W. Robertson's " Hist. 
Essays," p. 195. 


uniformity in the Rules (/>., the Codes of Discipline) 
under which the several monasteries were governed. 
Any monastery might be founded with a rule of its 
own, and the rules were very different in their strin- 
gency. When Bishop -^thelwald began his revival, 
he wished to introduce one rule which should take 
effect in all English monasteries, and this rule was 
the famous rule of St. Benedict, which, accordingly, 
he introduced first into the monasteries of Glaston- 
bury and Abingdon. When he had succeeded so far, 
he turned his attention to the great eastern monas- 
teries which had been so ruthlessly dealt with nearly 
a century before, and by his influence Ely and Peter- 
borough and Thorney and Crowland rose up from 
their decayed condition, and were all re-established 
under the Benedictine rule. There was a great deal 
of strong feeling for and against this revival of the 
monasteries, but it seems that the leading men in 
East Anglia were in the main, in favour of the 
monks, and that they supported the new order of 
things.^ Their chief was ^thelwine, called ** the 
friend of God," who, I think, got his name because 
he showed himself the friend of monks, for he was, 
in fact, the founder of the afterwards famous abbey of 
Ramsey. The reorganisation of the great religious 
house at Bury St, Edmunds was not carried out for 

* "Edgar, who had been as indolent in the matter as his arch- 
bishop [Dunstan] for the first four years of his reign, married 
the widow of the East Anglian ealderman in 964, and in the 
same year IVulstan-at-Delham, a thegn of the eastern counties^ 
.... bore to the bishop of Winchester the royal sanction to 
commence his reforms." — Robertson, «. j. 

32 NORWICH. [a.D. 92I» 

nearly fifty years after this, and in the meantime a 
body of secular canons kept up a form of religious 
life in what appears to have been originally a conven- 
tual building. It is probable that many of these 
canons were married, and they lived as the canons in 
our cathedrals would live now if their number were 
increased to the full complement originally contem- 
plated by the statutes of cathedrals of the new foun- 
dation, and if residence within the precincts were 
made compulsor}\ As for the general body of the 
parochial clergy, they lived upon their benefices with 
their wives and families ; but in Dunstan's time, and 
in great measure in consequence of his vehement, 
championship, a very strong prejudice began to be 
roused, not altogether on religious or sentimental 
grounds, against the marriage of the clergy, and a 
passionate opposition, amounting almost to a persecu- 
tion, was stirred up against all who were not prepared 
to advocate clerical celibacy. The monks increased 
in number and influence, and, as they did so, it became 
more and more difficult for the advocates of Christian 
liberty in the matter to hold their ground or to get a 
hearing, until at last the family life of the old parson- 
ages disappeared, and it was only ^after the final sup- 
pression of the monasteries that it revived. 

Meanwhile, during the thirty years that Dunstan 
was archbishop of Canterbury, the tide of popular 
feeling in favour of the conventual life continued 
always rising. Monasteries grew up as if by magic, 
some from their ashes, some in spots where no reli- 
gious house had been known before. The conflict 
with heathenism was at an end ; the world would not 


last much longer ; was not the thousandth year of 
grace at hand ? As for houses and lands, who that had 
lived through the troublous times, or looked forward 
to what seemed likely to come, could feel much 
security in the tenure by which he held them ? How 
much better to surrender houses and lands to the 
glory of God and the service and support of those 
whose prayers and promises rose up day and night 
with incense of perpetual adoration to the throne of 
Heaven ! Just when this storm of fervour was at its^ 
height, a new swarm of Danes came pouring into 
England. King Sweyn sailed up the Yare, and burned 
Norwich and Thetford, and laid the country desolate 
with fire and sword. He found a huge spoil in East 
Anglia. We read that the churches were pillaged, 
and the monks carried off, and their houses sacked. 
Six years after, the Danes came again; this time 
they landed at Ipswich, and the chronicle significantly 
adds, that " they even went into the wild fens, and 
they destroyed men and cattle, and burned through 
the fens." It was worth their while ; for the great 
abbey of Peterborough had by this time revived, and 
-^Ifsy, the abbot, was a man of power and wealth, 
and though his monastery had not grown to the 
grandeur that it attained twenty years after this, yet 
the abbey of Peterborough was even then a mighty 
institution, and the Fen country of East Anglia was 
looked upon as a kind of Holy Land. King Sweyn 
died in 1014, and his son, the great Cnut, became 
king. In three years he found himself undisputed 
master of England, and before his death his sway 
extended over Scotland, and Denmark, and Norway, 


34 NORWICH. [a.d. I0I4« 

too. In the very year that he became supreme lord 
of England, he founded the abbey of St. Benedict 
AT HuLM, — the enthusiasm of the cloister had mas- 
tered the great warrior's heart. The new abbey, like 
almost all those that had preceded it, was set down 
in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, and the buildings 
rose up from the ooze of the desolate swamp where 
the sluggish Bure annually overflows its banks, and 
for miles the country round in winter-time is under 
water. There, in the hideous solitude, the number of 
monks had increased so greatly under the favour of 
the king, that in a few years twelve of them could be 
spared without difficulty to take the place of the 
canons who ^^'ere ejected as usurpers from the now- 
restored abbey of St. Edmund's Bury ; and there to 
this day the foundations of the vast monastery may 
be traced, the enormous mass of concrete which 
served as the foundation of the conventual church 
still defying all the ravages of time. Meanwhile, 
though Sweyn and Cnut were held to be good 
Christian kings, — for their sins in one direction were 
held to be condoned for the sake of their virtues in 
another, — they seem to have ordered the affairs of 
the Church after a somewhat high-handed fashion. 
They appointed to bishoprics as they pleased, and 
removed those whom they had appointed when they 
pleased, and there was strange confusion. Thus we 
hear of ^Elfgar, whom men called the alms-giver, 
dying as bishop of East Anglia on Christmas Day, 
102 1, though iELFWiN^ is said to have been appointed 

* He had been a monk at Ely. 


bishop five years before, and is expressly mentioned 
as then beginning to build the church of St. Edmund 
at Bury, which was not finished till 1032. It seems 
that Stigand, whom the Chronicle calls "Cnut's 
priest," was the king's chief adviser in all matters 
ecclesiastical ; and when Cnut died, in 1035, Sti- 
gand's influence did not at all diminish. 

While Hardacnut, who succeeded his father, was 
away in Denmark, Stigand did pretty much what 
he pleased; and when in December, 1038, ^Elfric, 
bishop of Elmham, died, Stigand intruded himself 
into the vacant see ; but this could not be borne, 
and for some reason that has not been recorded 
he was thrust out of the bishopric then, and one 
Grimketel was appointed in his room, who, they 
say, had purchased his preferment with gold. After 
awhile Grimketel was ejected in his turn, and 
thereupon Stigand recovered the bishopric, and 
held it till such time as the archbishopric of Can- 
terbury fell vacant, whereupon he obtained that 
too, and held it, with the sees of Winchester and 
East Anglia, for a while. This was too much for the 
king, and Stigand had to resign the East Anglian 
bishopric, though he contrived to secure it for his 
brother, -^gelmar or Aylmer, who was bishop of 
Elmham when William the Conqueror came across 
the sea, and those great changes began in Church 
and State which by that time were sorely needed. 
Very soon after the Conqueror's coming, Archbishop 
Stigand fell into disgrace, and he and his brother, 
Aylmer, were involved in the same ruin, both 
being deposed from their bishoprics. This was in 

d 2 

36 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070. 

the year 1070, just four years after the battle of 
Hastings. In the room of Bishop Aylmer, the Con- 
queror appointed his own chaplain, Herfast, an 
Italian, to the bishopric, — the first foreigner who had 
ever presided over an East Anglian diocese. But 
the time was drawing near when the title of bishop 
of Elmham was to pass away, as the title of bishop 
of Dunwich had passed, and Herfast was the last 
East Anglian bishop who was called by that name. 
Thus with the Norman Conquest we have come to a 
time when, in more senses than one, the old order has 
changed. The " bridal dawn of thunder-peals " which, 
the poet tells us, is wont to usher in a new era was 
not wanting ; and perhaps it is as well that we know 
no more of how things really were going than we do. 
And yet as we look back upon all the suffering and 
the wrong, the cruelty and carnage and oppression, 
the treachery and grossness, and all the unutterable 
sorrow, there does stand up before us, witnessing for 
the Kingdom of Righteousness, a succession of men of 
faith and prayer who, from generation to generation, 
did something to raise the hopes and aspirations of 
their fellows, and to do battle for goodness and truth. 
They did not live in vain ; they laid the foundations, 
and other men have builded thereon. 

A.D. I094-] NORWICH. 37 



In the twenty-five years during which Edward the 
Confessor reigned over England, there were no less 
than twelve popes of Rome, real or pretended. It 
was a time of grievous corruption and anarchy 
throughout Christendom ; for neither in the Church 
nor in the State did men know how to govern them- 
selves. Priests and people were lost without a per- 
sonal head over them. Where the ruler was weak 
or wicked, the people perished. During all those 
shameful conflicts and wars and abominations which 
make up the history of the papacy during the first 
half of the eleventh century, and as a consequence 
of them, the necessities of the popes had become 
more and more urgent and their poverty extreme. 
Meanwhile, the property of the Church in other lands 
had gone on increasing in value, and the clergy, as a 
class, were amply endowed. Whatever may have 
been the case in earlier times, it is plain that when 
William the Duke became William the King of Eng- 
land, a very large proportion of the beneficed clergy 
in England, Germany, Flanders, and North Italy 
were married men. But the tenure by which a clergy- 
man held his benefice was anomalous. The science 

38 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

of law was as yet in its infancy, and the parson who 
was inducted into a benefice and enjoyed it as his 
freehold by virtue of his office might easily convince 
himself that while he held office he might do with it 
as he pleased. When a married clergyman saw his 
children growing up around him, and knew that after 
his death they would be unprovided for, his tempta- 
tion was to deal with his freehold as if it were his 
own, and to alienate from the Church all he could 
lay his hands on.^ The temptation was too often 
yielded to. We hear even of the sacred vessels being 
made away with by needy priests, or their wives and 
families. Nor was this all; the relations between 
the patron and the incumbent of a benefice were 
vague and undefined. The one had something to 
give which was valuable, the other had something to 
receive which was worth purchase. The one might 
be needy, the other greedy, and the vulgarest bar- 
gaining was apt to ensue. A man grown desperate 
by the needs of an increasing family was willing to 
stake his all as an investment in a rich living; or 
worse, he might go to the Jews and borrow the 
money which the patron in the benefice was willing 
enough to receive. Sometimes, too, when the parson 
had no capital and no means of borrowing, even a 
worse compact ensued, and patron and incumbent 
entered into covenants more or less open and avowed, 
whereby the income of the Church was to be divided 

* " Sed erant religiosi et dignissimi clerici, qui tamen thesau- 
ros suos quos avidis adquirebant cordibus non ad ecclesise 
honorem sed suis dare solebant uxoribusj* — " Vita Oswaldi," 
apud Stubbs, "Memorials of St. Dunstan,'' p. bcxxiii., n. 

A.D. 1094.] HOW THE AIR CLEARED. 39 

between the two, one share falling to the man who 
performed the duties of the clerical office, ^the other 
returned to him in whose gift the preferment lay. 
The evil grew to huge proportions, and the better 
feelings of the laity revolted against the increase of 
these Simoniacal proceedings, whereby the posses- 
sions of the clergy were being seriously diminished, 
and the danger of the maintenance of the parish 
priests being altogether alienated at last seemed to 
be a real and pressing one. The root and source of 
all the mischief seemed, to the ardent and reforming 
spirits of the time, to be the marriage of the clergy ; 
and when the remarkable revival of the monastic 
life and the monastic spirit began to make itself felt 
through all classes, and a wave of fanaticism passed 
over Europe, which the genuine enthusiasm of the 
pietists of Clugny and Camaldoli had first set moving, 
a phrenzy against the married clergy began to be 
roused, and speedily all the thunders of ecclesiastical 
denunciation were hurled without pity against the 
two classes who were proclaimed as the corrupters of 
the age — the Simoniacal buyers and sellers, and the 
priests, whose concubines (for so they called them) 
were said to be the bane of the Church of God. 

But abuses die hard, and in East Anglia the 
monastic fervour of Dunstan and ^thelwald does 
not appear to have aroused much respect. In the 
century preceding the Conquest, though St. Edmund's 
Burj' rose to importance, and though King Cnut 
founded the abbey of St. Benets at Hulme, yet it 
is clear that the monastic spirit had not taken so 
great a hold of the people as elsewhere, and that the 

40 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

parochial clergy were occupying an exceptionally 
strong position. 

Hitherto, the East Anglian bishops had been Eng- 
lishmen with insular prejudices. In the strife of 
parties at Rome they had taken no part. They enjoyed 
a quiet independence ; they knew nothing of the 
"habits of constant reference to the papal see" which 
came among us later; they had something to lose 
and nothing to gain by running backwards and for- 
wards to Rome. If the truth must be told, it seems 
that the last East Anglian bishops were not men who 
were much better or worse than their age. The 
charge of Simony that more than one of them 
underlie can hardly be groundless : but in an age 
when it was no bar to an ecclesiastic becoming 
archbishop of Rouen that he had a wife who bore 
him children ; when it did not hinder Thomas from 
being archbishop of York, that he was the son 
of a priest; when Milan swarmed with married 
clergy, who obeyed Herbert, their married bishop, 
it was no scandal that the last two bishops of East 
Anglia appointed by the saintly King Edward, and 
the first bishop appointed by the Conqueror, were 
all married men. These bishops ruled over a body 
of parochial clergy, scarcely, if at all, less numerous 
than those from whom the bishop of Norwich now 
claims obedience. In the county of Suffolk alone 
there were at least 364 churches ; in Norfolk there 
were at least 317. The passion for building churches 
in East Anglia during the eleventh century appears, 
from the Domesday survey, to have become almost 
a mania. We meet with instances of clergymen en- 

A.D. 1094-] HOW THE AIR CLEARED. 4 1 

dowing churches which they had built, and bestowing 
manors on those which others had raised. If there 
was Simony among them, there was something better 
too, and if there was buying and selling of benefices 
and bishoprics — an evil obviously to be deplored, — 
yet the inference is that the clergy belonged to the 
upper rather than the lower strata of society, and 
were therefore presumably on a higher level of intel- 
ligence and culture than their flocks. Some of them, 
we hear, were very poor : it was inevitable that this 
should be so. Some of them, too, were unlearned ; 
and among the ecclesiastics who had been bred up 
in the better regulated monasteries and schools of 
learning on the Continent there was a disposition to 
make out that even the bishops were wanting in 
solid learning.^ But, on the whole, things appear 
not to have been so bad but that they might easily 
have been worse ; and, relatively to the rest of the 
community, it is probable — mutatis mutandis — that 
the clergy, at the time of the Conquest, occupied 
pretty much the same position, morally and intellec- 
tually, that they do now. 

Bishop Herfast seems to have been appointed to 

' Lanfranc seems to have been given to a pedantic display of 
his "new learning,*' and to have taken pleasure in showing his 
intellectual superiority to other bishops. His conduct to Her- 
fast, bishop of Elmham, must have been outrageously insulting 
(Malmesbury, G. P., p. 150). He even sneered at Wulstan, 
bishop of Worcester, for his "inscientia literarum" (p. 284), 
though there certainly was no foundation for the taunt. When 
Anselm died and a discussion arose about his successor some 
affirmed that there were many Englishmen who were just as 
learned as Lanfranc (p. 126). 

42 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

his bishopric early in 1070; for on the 29th August 
of that year he assisted at the consecration of Lan- 
franc as archbishop of Canterbury. ^ When he himself 
was consecrated we are not told ; but when, according 
to the fashion of the time, a copy of the Evangelists 
was put into his hands as part of the ceremony, and 
he opened it at random to gain what was called a 
"prognostic" of his acceptance by Almighty God, 
his eyes fell upon the awful words, Not this man^ 
but Barabbas t How he received the terrible omen 
we can only guess. Strong in the favour of the 
Conqueror, he was not slow in asserting himself; and 
though, at the very time of his entering upon his 
episcopate, Leofwin, bishop of Lichfield, was deposed 
and compelled to retire into a monastery because he 
was a married ecclesiastic, Herfast was unmolested 
and left a son behind him who inherited some of his 
father's lands. 

When Herfast entered upon the duties of his epis- 
copate, Alexander II. was pope at Rome. As Anselm, 
bishop of Lucca, he had been intimately associated 
with Peter Damiani and the great Hildebrand in 
more than one enterprise for the reform of the Church. 
He was the first pope elected by the cardinals without 
dictation or interference of the civil power ; the first 
of that succession of extraordinary men who made 
the papacy what it became in the thirteenth century ; 
the first, too, who sent into England a papal legate 
to settle affairs which English kings and English 
bishops were supposed to be unable to settle for 

' Stubbs'o "Registrum Sacr. Anglic." 


themselves. His election to the papacy was one of 
the turning-points in the history of the world. It 
was inevitable that Alexander should be a friend of 
the monasteries, and he had not been two years pope 
before he granted to the great abbey of Clugny one 
of those mischievous exemptions from episcopal visi- 
tations which produced so much evil in the after 
time;^ the precedent was a bad one, but it was 
speedily followed.^ It looks as if the Conqueror's 
policy aimed at raising up the power of the abbots 
as a check upon the formidable wealth, authority, 
and influence of the bishops, and, as these latter 
claimed independence of all secular jurisdiction, so 
to make the former independent of episcopal con- 
trol. Herfast had scarcely been established in his 
bishopric before he was startled by the discovery 
that the abbot of St. Edmund's Bury claimed to be 
exempt from episcopal authority. 

Herfast was very angry and set himself to resist 
the insidious encroachment. Baldwin, the abbot of 
St. Edmunds, was a man of mark and had acquired a 
wide reputation for his skill in medicine, being 
esteemed one of the greatest physicians of his time.^ 
He had many powerful friends, he had travelled 
much, and had been ordained priest at Rome by the 
pope himself.* His life from all that appears was 

^ Stubbs's "Introd. to Mem. of R. H.," p. xxvi. et seq, ; 
Giesler, ii. 419; Hallam, M.A. ii. 168. 

' On the exemptions of Battle Abbey cf. Eadmer with Selden's 
notes, p. 105. Freeman iv., p. 409. 

' Malmesbury, G. P. 
Lanfranc, Ep. xxx. 

44 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

blameless. Nevertheless, Herfast did not shrink 
from a conflict which at that time was unprecedented 
in England, and he insisted on his right of visiting 
the abbey and on exercising authority over all priests, 
whether monks or not, resident in his diocese. On 
Baldwin protesting against this claim, both parties 
appealed to the king. 

Matters were at this point, when the Revolt of 
Maine compelled William to cross the sea in 1073. 
The king, before he left England, had ordered the 
parties to await his return till such time as he should 
arbitrate between them, or (as he appears to have 
added) till Lanfranc should decide the dispute. 
Herfast knew that in Lanfranc he had no personal 
friend, and without waiting till William should return, 
and perhaps fearing that the Archbishop^s decision 
would be sure to be given against him, he excom- 
municated the abbot's contumacious priests, though 
Lanfranc appears to have already started to settle the 
quarrel.* Lanfranc had got as far as Freckenham, in 
Suffolk, where the bishop of Rochester had a house,^ 
when he fell ill, and Abbot Baldwin was called in to 
attend him.^ Shortly after Lanfranc appears to have 
proceeded to Bury and given his judgment on the 
question in dispute. Whatever the judgment was, it 
did not satisfy Herfast, nor indeed does it seem to 
have been wholly in favour of Baldwin. The dispute 
was not ended, and a report of the case was trans- 
mitted to Rome. Gregory VII. had by this time 
succeeded to the papacy, and on the 20th November, 

* Lanfranc, Ep. xviii. ' D.D.B. 381, a. 

• Lanfranc, Ep. xix. 

A.D. 1094'] HOW THE AIR CLEARED. 45 

1074, the pope sent an angry letter to Lanfranc com- 
menting severely upon Herfast's conduct, support- 
ing the abbot against the East-Anglian bishop, and 
assuring the latter that in case of his showing himself 
refractory both parties must appear in person at 
Rome.^ Lanfranc had no further choice in the matter; 
but when Baldwin sent one of his clerks to Herfast 
with letters from the archbishop in which he had pro- 
nounced his final award, Herfast appears to have 
lost his temper : he broke out into violent language 
against Lanfranc himself, dismissed the messenger 
with insults and personal violence, and denied that 
he was in any way bound to obey any archbishop 
in England, be he who he might ^ The sequel of the 
story has not come down to us, but it is clear that 
the quarrel proceeded to great lengths ; and in the 
recriminatory letter which Lanfranc addressed to the 
Bishop Herfast, he charges him, on hearsay, with 
passing his time in dicing and other reprehensible 
amusements, recommends him to read more and 
trifle less, and adopts the tone of a superior scornfully 
rebuking a dependent for misbehaviour. Such a 
correspondence was not likely to increase a cordial 
understanding between Herfast and the primate, 
and it must have been after this business, and in con- 
sequence of it, that Herfast allowed himself to be 
betrayed into certain irregularities of which Lanfranc 
again had to complain.^ Herfast, himself a married 
man, seems to have thrown the weight of his influence 
into the cause of those clergy who maintained the 

* Ep. XX. * Ep. xxiii. ' Ep. xxi. 

46 NORWICH. [A;D. 1070- 

lawfulness of matrimony. He ordained one man as 
deacon and another as priest, though each had a wife 
from whom he was unwilling to separate. Again 
Lanfranc interfered,^ and with no hesitation pro- 
nounced that neither should discharge any eccle- 
siastical function, but should in fact be degraded. 
After this we hear little more of Bishop Herfast, 
whose episcopate is memorable for the first instance 
of the exemption of a monastery from episcopal 
visitation, and for one of the -last instances of an 
attempt to uphold the liberty of clerical wedlock. 
He was present at the great council summoned by 
the primate in 1075,^ and it was in obedience to the 
enactments of that council that in the year 1078 he 
transferred the East-Anglian bishopric from Elmham 
to Thetford, which had become a central and flourish- 
ing town. He died in 1084.^ His episcopate covers 
fourteen memorable years of the Conqueror's reign. 
It was only a few months before his consecration that 
the Danes made their last raid upon East Anglia and 
received their crushing defeat at the hands of Ralph 
of Wader, " the one English traitor at Senlac " — ^who 
had for his treason been rewarded with the Earldom 
of Norfolk. 

It was in the sixth year of his episcopate that the 
last and most formidable revolt against the great king 
was organised by this same Earl Ralph, and that 
Norwich Castle was defended by his newly-we dded 
bride for three months, and surrendered only on 

^ £p. xxi. and xxii. 

* Malmesbury, G.P. 66, n. I. 

• Le Neve, quoting Wharton A.S. 

A.D. I094] THE CHANGES. 47 

favourable conditions at last. All through Herfast's 
time the fashion of building churches continued, but 
not one single monastic foundation is recorded to 
have been raised. The fact, viewed by the light 
which Herfast^s career affords us, is significant. It 
was not till the days of his successor that the 
king's commissioners went through East Anglia to 
carry out the great survey, which affords indications 
of a period of suffering and impoverishment having 
been experienced among the towns of Norfolk, 
during the bishop's term of office. Norwich had 
seriously suffered from the great rebellion. Thetford, 
though now the episcopate seat, had declined in 
wealth and population since the Confessor's days; 
on the other hand, Elmham had increased in pro- 
sperity and importance by reason of the residence of 
the bishop there. It seems difficult to understand why 
Norwich should not have been chosen before Thet- 
ford as the East Anglian bishop's residence, unless 
it was because the stately Church of the Holy 
Trinity at Thetford was the most spacious edifice 
in the diocese,^ and appeared to offer itself as the 
best existing substitute for a cathedral, or because 
the king desired to show his displeasure at the part 
the Norwich burghers had taken in the eastern 

The king was away in Normandy when Herfast 
died, and no successor was appointed to the see till 
his return in the following year. When the great 
assembly was held at Gloucester about Christmas, 

^ Henry of Hunt, p. 165. 

48 NORWICH. [a.D. I070-- 

WiLLiAM, called de Bella Fago or de Beau Feu, was 
appointed bishop of Thetford. He, too, was one of 
the king's chaplains. It seems probable that he was 
married.^ He was high in the Conqueror's favour, 
and was enriched by him as a proof of his regard. 
He left his accumulations in great measure to the 
endowment of his bishopric. He was one of those 
who were present at William Rufus's first court, held 
in 1087. Of his administration we know nothing. 
Its period was fruitful in miseries for the diocese ; 
the first year was a year of pestilence and famine, 
and, when the rebellion of the Norman earls against 
William Rufus broke out in 1088, Roger Bigod, from 
his castle at Norwich, issued forth to lay waste the 
country round, and to levy black-mail upon the 
wretched people. For ?iwt short years Bishop William 
held the see ; his episcopate was signalised by the 
founding of the great priory of Castle Acre. 

Since the days of Cnut no religious house of any 
importance had been set ujd in East Anglia. During 
the reign of Edward the Confessor it was not likely 
that Monasticism would flourish while the province 
was under the control of married bishops ; but if we 
could believe what has been asserted, that towards 
the close of William's reign a mysterious shudder of 
repentance passed through the mind of the king and 
communicated itself to his rough barons, we might 
easily find evidence for such a belief in the setting 
up the Cluniac priory of Castle Acre by William de 
Warenne. Splendid as are the ruins of this foundation, 

* " Norf. Ant. Misc.," vol. i. ; Mumford's " Domesday," p. 24; 
Sir H. Ellis, apud Planch^, if. 283. 

A.D. I094-] 'i'HE CHANGES. 49 

it was originally but a cell of Lewes, the first Cluniac 
house in England. The earnest attempt made in 
the tenth century to throw new life and reality into 
monasticism had met with a response on our side 
of the Channel ; for the Cluniacs aimed at being the 
reformers of the religious life of their time; and if the 
flame that they fanned into a blaze for a little while, 
soon died out and new reformers were needed to 
take the place of the old, this is only what is always 
happening. Each generation has its own work to 
do, and must needs do it in its own way. 

During the Conqueror's reign, there had been no 
buying or selling of bishoprics.^ William had taken 
a pride in keeping at his court a body of ecclesiastics 
who were before their age in learning and intellect. 
They were all men of wealth or birth or exceptional 
culture, and in his appointments to bishoprics he 
consulted only his own pleasure and his sense of the 
fitness of his nominees for the posts to which he 
assigned them. But William, the son, was a different 
man from his father, and his needs made him greedy 
and rapacious. With him the vile practice of selling 
the great offices in the Church and in the State 
came back again, and bishoprics were once more 
offered to the highest bidder. The price was always 
enormous, and only they who had inherited large 
fortunes, or amassed them while servants of the venal 
and profligate court, were in a position to treat 
for the larger prizes. ^ When Lanfranc died, on the 

» Stubbs, '* Const. Hist." vol. i., § loi. 
• See Palgrave, ** Eng. and Normandy," vol, iv., c. ii. See, 
too, Stubbs, vol. i., p. 299. 


50 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

24th May, 1089, the king had no further compunc- 
tion in dealing with Church preferments according 
to his policy or his whim. For more than four years 
the archbishopric was vacant, in the interval only 
two bishoprics fell in, — that of Chichester, which was 
retained in the king's hands for three years, and that 
of Thetford by the death of William de Beaufeu 
in 109 1. 

How long the East Anglian see might have remained 
without a bishop we need not speculate, for a candi- 
date for the vacant office soon appeared able and 
willing to pay such fees /or entering upon the ecclesias- 
tical fief as the king thought proper to demand.^ 
This was Herbert, abbot of Ramsey, a man whom 
" the shafts of truth feathered with scandal " have 
not spared. Herbert de Losinga, for that was his 
name, was the son of one Robert de Losinga, who 
appears, late in life, to have assumed the monk's 
cowl on his being appointed abbot of Winchester. 
Of the family from which he sprang nothing is known; 
but the bishop, in his later years, speaks of his high 
birth, his great connexions, and his large resources, 
with grateful pride. It is clear that, from his earliest 
years, he enjoyed all the advantages of careful edu- 
cation which were then to be had, and, to do him 
justice, he seems to have made the most of his oppor- 
tunities. His handsome person, captivating manners, 
and remarkable conversational powers, fitted him to 
shine as a courtier, but the scholarly tastes which he 
had acquired in boyhood led him early to take upon 

* Stubbs, i. 299. 

A.D. 1094.] THE CHANGES. 51 

him monastic vows, and he became a monk in the 
splendid abbey of Fecamp, where, according to his 
own account, he passed the happiest days of his life. 
It is probable that he was already at Fecamp when 
the Conqueror kept his Easter there in 1067, and may 
then have come under the king's notice as a young 
scholar of promise.^ Subsequently, while prior of the 
same religious house, he seems to have been brought 
into intimate relations with the king during his last 
campaign ; and William Rufus, on succeeding his father, 
straightway made him one of his chaplains, and ap- 
pointed him abbot of the rich Benedictine monastery 
of Ramsay. Here he remained three years, and on 
the death of William de Beaufeu, he was promoted 
to the bishopric of Thetford, as has been told. 
He was consecrated by Thomas, archbishop of York, 
and with him, as it seems, was consecrated Ralph 
Luffa, the newly-appointed bishop of Chichester. 
This was in the year 1091. Archbishop Lanfranc 
had been dead for two years, and the king showed no 
sign of intending to name a successor ; the revenues 
of the see of Canterbury were paid into the royal 
exchequer, and the estates in many instances were 
bestowed upon the creatures of the Court. 

For two years more things went from bad to worse. 
Bishop Herbert kept himself quiet, but he must 
have been shocked and horrified by the abomina- 
tions that were going on. The country was given 
over to cruelty and oppression of every kind. In 
the Church there were anarchy and licence. Early in 

> Freeman, iv., pp. 87 et seq, 
*E 2 

52 NORWICH. [a.D. 1070- 

1093 prayers were offered up throughout the country 
that God would move the king to make choice of a fit 
man for the archbishopric. ^ Rufus made himself merry 
in his grim way, and swore by the Holy Face of Lucca 
that there should be no archbishop of Canterbury 
save himself. A few weeks afterwards he was struck 
down by a dangerous sickness, his recovery seemed 
hopeless, he became agitated by terror and remorse. 
For once in his life he relented, and on the 6th March 
he nominated Anselm to the primacy. There was 
great joy in England. Now, men thought, there was 
hope of better times. But Anselm had no desire for 
the exalted post which he was compelled to accept 
sorely against his will. He made his own conditions. 
Rufus gave a half promise that what he asked should 
be acceded to. But the king recovered, and the evil 
spirit came back to his heart. Anselm took his stand 
bravely. What he believed to be right, that must be 
clung to ; with the fear of God before his eyes, the 
fear of man faded away. These two last-appointed 
bishops, Ralph Luffa of Chichester and Herbert of 
Thetford — they who, on the 4th of December, 1093, 
had placed their hands upon his head and taken 
part in his consecration — had they paid money 
down for the bishoprics ? Had they accepted their 
sees as if they were only temporal lords, and taken 
the staff of office and the episcopal ring from the 
king, who was a layman after all, and a plun- 
derer of the heritage of God ? Let them look to it. 
Both had flagrantly disobeyed the decrees of the 

' Eadmer, pp. 15, 16. 

A.D. 1094.] THE CHANGES. 55 

Roman Synod of September, 1089, which forbade 
that any ecclesiastical person should accept investi- 
ture at tlie hands of a layman, be he who he might. 
Let them humble themselves and repent, give back 
to the tyrant what he had no right to grant, and seek 
pardon from the pope of Rome. 

If Anselm solemnly urged this plea, it is only what 
we should have expected from him. One thing is 
certain, that both bishops did actually offer to resign 
each his staff and ring to Rufus. In the case of the 
Bishop of Thetford, it was accepted, and the king 
plucked the staff from his hand ; in the case of 
Bishop Ralph, when he stood up, huge giant as he 
was, and face to face with the furious tyrant, drew the 
ring from his finger and tendered his staff, Rufus 
seems to have bidden him keep what he had. Rufus 
wanted Anselm's ring and staff; he was no nearer 
getting them after flouting Bishop Herbert — was it 
worth his while to repeat a bad move ? 

The taking away of Bishop Herbert's staff produced 
a profound impression . The contemporary chronicler 
thought it worth his while to make a record of the 
fact. The event seems to have occurred early in 
1094, for Herbert took part in the consecration of 
Anselm at Canterbury on the 3rd December of the 
previous year, and his name is absent from the list of 
bishops who assisted at the consecration of Robert 
Bloet, as bishop of Lincoln, on the 12 th February 
following. Unless there be some confusion in the 
dates, he must in the interval have slipped away to 
Rome. Here he presented himself before the pope, 
made his peace with the awful Pontiff, and in April 

54 NORWICH. [a.D. 1095. 

he was at home again. On the 9th of that month 
we find him no longer bishop of Thetford — he appears 
henceforth as bishop of. Norwich.^ How the negotia- 
tions were carried on, how the king was induced ta 
sanction the removal of the see to the capital of 
East Anglia, and whether it was one of those matters 
which the papal legates arranged at their coming 
when they brought Anselm his pall, it is idle to 
speculate upon — we shall never know. This we do 
know, that in the year when the council of Clermont 
proclaimed the truce of God, and while men began 
to buckle on their armour for the first crusade, 
Herbert Losinga was bishop not of Dunwich, or 
Elmham, or Thetford, but was known as bishop of 

' I cannot withhold my suspicion that the accepted date is 
wrong, and that it should be 1095. This is not the place, how- 
ever, to argue out the question. See Cotton, p. 54, and note 
the confusion in the chronol(^. 

A.D. IO96-III9.] NORWICH. 55 



After the taking away of his staff, Herbert the 
bishop passes out of sight for a while. The first crusade 
had begun. Robert Courthose, the Conqueror's eldest 
son, was the leader of that dreadful war, and had 
made his peace with his brother, William Rufu^, 
and sold his rights for gold. England and English- 
men cared little about that first crusade, and in East 
Anglia they were not likely to care more for such 
a cause because Ralph, the traitor earl of Norfolk, 
was one of those who took part in it. Robert 
Courthose started from Normandy to assume the 
command of the rabble of Crusaders in the autumn 
of 1096. In that same year, Bishop Herbert 
laid the foundation-stone of Norwich Cathedral. 
During all the centuries when East Anglia had had 
bishops presiding over her numerous clergy, there is 
nothing to show that anything like what we now 
understand by a cathedral church had ever existed. 
The only notice of a "Minster" which has come 
down to us is one which Bishop Theodred mentions 
in his will as existing near Hoxne in Suffolk.^ There 
appear to have been important churches at Dun- 
wich, and at least one large one at Thetford, but the 

* See p. 29. 

56 NORWICH. [a.D. 1096- 

notice of Elmham, which occurs in Domesday, leaves 
the impression of its being the site of an episcopal 
mansion in the midst of its extensive woods, rather 
than a place notable for ecclesiastical buildings. 

Bishop Herbert no sooner found himself esta- 
blished in his see, than he set himself to supply the 
want of a cathedral church. There appears to have 
been an unimportant religious house occupying a 
portion of what is now the cathedral close, and was 
then called the Cowholme ; but its precincts were too 
small for any such gigantic undertaking as Herbert 
contemplated, and his first difficulty was to acquire 
the necessary land. A site was, however, soon chosen. 
The river Wensum in its sluggish course towards the 
sea was stopped on the east by some high chalk cliffs, 
which turned the stream for a while in a southward 
direction. To the westward there stretched a huge 
morass, whose boundary on one side was the river, and 
on the other a slight eminence, called the Tombland, 
a kind of spur of the commanding height on which 
the great castle of Norwich rose. In the middle of 
this low ground the bishop, true to the traditions of 
the Benedictines, determined to plant his church. 

The first stone was laid some time in 1096, />., less 
than two years after Herbert had been consecrated 
bishop of the see, and this at a time when the land 
was groaning with exceeding misery, and the tyranny 
of the king was impoverishing all classes. The time 
might seem to be inopportune, but Herbert knew 
that life is short, and knew 'that he must not wait. 
There had been two dreadful seasons. The king 
was oppressing all classes ; his treasurer was grinding 


the faces of the rich and of the poor. Money was 
very scarce, but the bishop's own resources were 
enormous. On the whole, it is probable that the 
plan of the cathedral was conceived in its entirety, 
and the vast foundations excavated as they now 
exist, by the audacious architect at first starting. In 
the absence of any serviceable quarry in East Anglia, 
the stone required was imported from Normandy, 
and a canal was cut from the Wensum, enabling the 
vessels to unload their burden where now stands the 
lower close. The works went on with amazing ra- 
pidity, and the cathedral rose up as if by magic, its 
extreme length attaining to 407 feet, without reckon- 
ing the Lady Chapel, which has disappeared. Con- 
currently with the construction of the church, a palace 
for the bishops was rising on the north, and the mo- 
nastic buildings for seventy monks were rapidly being 
built on the southern side ; for the services of the 
new church, and the gorgeous ritual which it was 
intended to keep up in it, would inevitably necessitate 
a large body of officiating clergy, and these must be 
members either of a Collegium of canons living under a 
Rule^ or a brotherhood of monks subject to an abbot 
or prior. Bishop Herbert being himself a monk, 
and loyal to the great house and the great order to 
which he owed so much, there could be no doubt 
who would be the ministering servants of the church 
at Norwich. The cathedral was to be the centre of a 
monastic institution, the monks were to be subject to 
the ancient Benedictine rule under which Herbert's 
own school of Fecamp was governed. The de facto 
head of the house would be the founder during his 

58 NORWICH. [a.D. 1096- 

lifetime, though the prior was technically the ruler of 
the community, elected by the whole body in chapter 
assembled, and irremovable by any external au- 
thority. The constitution of Norwich was almost 
precisely that of Canterbury, and Herbert was scru- 
pulously careful in providing separate estates for the 
bishop and the monastery. While the building pro- 
ceeded, the bishop had his hands full ; during the five 
years that elapsed between the laying of the founda- 
tion-stone and the roofing-in of the choir (when the 
church was consecrated) prodigious sums of money 
were collected. Rufus is the only one of the Norman 
kings who founded no religious house, and who sys- 
tematically pillaged churches and monasteries; yet 
even Rufus is expressly said to have contributed to 
the building of Norwich Cathedral, and his brother, 
who succeeded him, gave money and. lands. The 
citizens of Norwich, the great lords who held their 
fiefs under the king, the clergy of the diocese, — all who 
had but little to give, and many who had nothing to 
spare, brought each and all their offerings. 

Abroad, the crusaders were slaying and plundering ; 
Robert Courthose, achieving at last his hideous 
triumph, and Urban the pope surviving it just fifteen 
days. At home, a wail of suffering went up to heaven 
from a people whom the pitiless taxes and the grievous 
famine well-nigh reduced to despair. In 1098, nearly 
all the crops in the marsh-lands failed, and next year 
things were little better ; Anselm had been driven out 
of England, and Englishmen had no champion to 
plead for right and mercy. Bishops and abbots died, 
and the king seized their lands and let them out to 
arm j it was a dreadful time, and yet that stupendous 


mass rose higher and higher, the labour and the 
revenues of a province being devoted to the one 
great object which the bishop had persuaded himself 
was the glory of God. Doubtless the organisation of 
all this vast labour was a great boon to East Anglia. 
If there was famine elsewhere here, at any rate, there 
was work and pay, and in a time of much suffering, 
depression, and scarcity, the building of the cathedral 
came to the masses as a grand scheme for the relief 
of the destitute on which all who wanted it might 
find profitable employment. Thus the raising of 
that stupendous pile of buildings, of which little now 
remains but the church, must be regarded almost less 
as an architectural triumph, than a colossal industrial 
achievement such as only a man with a great genius 
for the organisation of labour would have undertaken 
or could have carried through. If the dates be 
rightly given, scarcely five years elapsed from the 
laying of the foundation stone to the consecration of 
the cathedral for divine worship, and though doubtless 
little more is implied by this than that the choir was 
roofed over, yet even so, the rapidity with which the 
work proceeded is astonishing. Nor was Norwich the 
only place that benefited by the bishop's activity. All 
through his episcopate he seems to have continued to 
find employment for the industrial army that looked to 
him for work and pay. At Elmham, though for long 
the site of the bishopric, there had been only a timber 
church ; Bishop Herbert built a worthier and more 
enduring edifice. At Lynn, the immense church of St. 
Margaret occupies the site and is the present repre- 
sentative of an older construction which Herbert 
raised. At Yarmouth, too, he built the largest parish 

6o NORWICH. [a.D. 1096- 

church in England; and even at Norwich, on the other 
side of the Wensum, on a hill which once looked down 
upon the city, but which has long since been bodily 
carted away by the lime-burners, another church rose, 
possibly for the use of the camp of labourers, whom the 
citizens could not house, and for whom the high ground 
would afford a healthy and convenient place for tempo- 
rary habitations. Nor was this all. The Benedictine 
order had, it was said, departed from the severity of 
the great founder's rule, and the monasteries were not 
what they had been, or what they should be ; and an 
earnest attempt had been made to bring in' a reform 
of monastic discipline : — that reform originated in the 
great religious house of Clugni, in the tenth century, 
and shortly after the Conquest some Cluniac monks 
were settled at Lewes in Sussex, who were the first 
bringers-in of the new rule. Up to this time, in the 
east of England, the founders of any new monastery 
had always sought out some forbidding solitude 
wherein the recluse might be removed from the snares 
of the world and its fascinations, but with the twelfth 
century comes in a new era. The monasteries may 
be said henceforth to take a new departure, and from 
this time religious houses began not uncommonly to 
be founded in the immediate vicinity of the towns. 
Till the building of Bishop Herbert's great Bene- 
dictine Priory at Norwich, St. Edmunds Abbey had 
been the only monastery in East Anglia which was 
not far removed from town life; but in the twenty years 
that followed the consecration of the cathedral and 
the completion of the monastic buildings that were 
attached tq it, the great Cluniac priory rose under the 
shadow of the mighty castle of the Earls of Warenne 


at Castle Acre,^ and another Cluniac house was 
founded by Roger Bigod at Thetford. A Benedictine 
house, subordinate to the Abbey of St. Albans, was 
built by Roger Bigod's daughter and her husband 
William de Albini ^ at Wymondham, and cells or sub- 
sidiary houses to the Norwich Priory were founded at 
Lynn and Hoxne. The tactics of the monastic 
orders seem to have undergone a change, when the 
savage tyrant William Rufus was dead and his accom- 
plished brother had succeeded. It was less necessary 
than it had been for men who desired to live a 
religious life to retire into the wilderness — Nay ! — it 
might be that the work of the "religious" was to 
prove themselves the salt of the earth, by acting upon 
the masses and raising their tone j but new wine 
cannot be put into old bottles, and in the next century 
the work was taken out of the hands of the monks 
properly so called ; then religious enthusiasm showed 
itself in quite a new aspect, and the Franciscan and 
Dominican missionaries went forth to rescue from 
the kingdom of darkness the townsmen who were as 
sheep without shepherds. The true evangelisers of 
the masses were the friars. 

Meanwhile, the example set by the bishop and the 
great lords acted as a stimulus upon others in East 
Anglia who had lands to alienate and money to spend. 
Possibly, too, there were some who by contributing 

* Though Castle Acre was founded in the episcopate of 
Bishop William Beaufeu, the architecture of the remains proves 
that the building of the church dates many years later. 

* He died on All Saints' Day (November i), 1139, in the 
fifty-first year after he had founded Wymondham Abbey, says 
Oxnede, p. 5^ > ^'^'i the foundation dates in 1089. 

62 NORWICH. [a.D. 1096- 

to the building or endowing a religious foundation, 
compounded for vows too hastily made to take part 
in the crusade. Whatever the motives may have 
been, or however it may be accounted for, the fact 
is plain, that besides the monastic houses already 
mentioned, at least six others were begun or com- 
pleted during Bishop Herbert's episcopate.^ The 
commanding personality of the man and the enthu- 
siasm which fired his whole life impressed themselves 
upon all who came in contact with him; tht furore for 
building churches and monasteries which is so notice- 
able in East Anglia during Herbert's episcopate must 
have been largely the result of the bishop's direct 
influence and example. But while throwing himself 
with earnestness and energy into all that concerned 
the welfare of his diocese, he exhibited that invariable 
characteristic of true genius — the power of taking 
delight in the most trifling pursuits of daily life and of 
finding pleasure in duties which only common men 
find " common." He watched over the discipline of 
the monastery he had founded, personally directed 
the studies of the young people for whose education 
the convent school was carried on, was a frequent 
preacher and a busy correspondent. He had a keen 
appreciation of a joke, and, as a Latinist, was a far 
more elegant writer and far more accomplished scholar 
than was usual in his time. As a courtier, he was 
high in favour with Henry I. all through his life, and 
he appears to have been in personal attendance upon 
the Queen Matilda during her last hours. As a lover 

^ Binham, Aldeby, Bliburgh, Hempton, Heringfleet, Ixworth. 
To these may probably be added Eye and Pentney. 


of books and patron of learning he was perhaps the 
foremost man in England of his time. It was un- 
doubtedly a bad time for literature, but such as it 
was Herbert de Losinga added to it his share, and 
with the single exception of the great Anselm he was 
the only bishop of an English see who in that 
generation won any place at all in the republic of 
letters. In one of his enterprises he failed, and failed 
signally. He attempted what his predecessor had 
vainly tried to effect, to make the abbot of Bury 
and his convent subject to the visitation of the 
bishop of the see. But the wealth and influence and 
astuteness of the abbot and his agents were too much 
for any single bishop to cope with. The monks 
gained the day in East Anglia, as they gained the day 
in Canterbury a generation later. The time soon 
came when the abbot of Bury got to be regarded as 
a personage almost co-ordinate in power and influence 
with the bishop of Norwich.^ Not for three centuries 
was any further attempt made to carry out any visita- 
tion of the great eastern monastery. 

Bishop Herbert died on the 22nd July, 11 19, 
and was buried in his own cathedral. His monument 
is that glorious pile wherein his bones are laid : the 
church whose vast proportions have admitted no 
additions and whose main lines have been preserved 
almost unchanged for 800 years — the most purely 
Norman cathedral in Britain.. 

* I refer to the striking scene in Jocelin de Brakelond's 
*' Chronicle,'' where Abbot Sampson wishes to take the cross, 
and Bishop John of Oxford resists him on the ground that the 
bishop and the abbot ought not both to he absent together. 

64 NORWICH. [a.D. 1 1 19 



When Bishop Herbert died, King Henry was in 
Normandy. For three years he had been away from 
England, and no English bishops had been appointed 
in his absence. Robert de Limesey had died in 
1 1 17, but the see of Lichfield was left without its 
chief pastor. Norwich was vacant. Still the king 
made no sign, and the bad precedent of his brother's 
reign seemed to be ruling once again. In the spring 
of 1 1 20, Geoffrey de Clive of Hereford died, and 
Hereford was without its bishop, the king still absent. 
In the autumn of that same year the weary French 
war came to an end, and Henry turned his face 
homewards. By the dreadful calamity of the " White 
Ship " foundering he was left childless. Early in the 
following year two of the vacant bishoprics were 
filled up — Hereford, in January, by Richard, a clerk 
of the signet, or member of the exchequer or chancery; 
Lichfield, in March, by the appointment of Robert 
Peeke, one of the royal chaplains. Still Norwich was 

Practically, the regent during the king's absence 
was Roger, bishop of Salisbury, the great representa- 
tive of the secular or statesman school of Churchman, 
the man to whose genius both the Norman and 


English exchequer owed their organisation, the un- 
compromising opponent of the monks and of every- 
thing that tended to increase the power and influence 
of the monastic bodies. The great priory of Norwich 
was a new foundation ; it had flourished marvel- 
lously under Bishop Herbert, it was prospering still. 
Bishop Roger would not have another monk-bishop 
in East Anglia, but it seems as if he hesitated before 
he recommended to the king the man upon whom he 
had fixed his eye. 

The bishop of Salisbury had, as his archdeacon, 
Everard de Montgomery, a son of Roger, Lord of 
Belesme, by Adela, daughter of Everard de Puiset, 
whom he had married in 1082. He appears to 
have been a devout • young man, inclined to 
superstition, with a taste for relics and the bones 
of saints. While the great minister was pursuing his. 
course and governing the realm, he left the spiritual 
regimen of his own diocese to his archdeacon, and 
Everard was practically his vicar-general. Everard 
became one of the king's chaplains, but there his 
preferment stopped. There was a reason for this. 
The archdeacon's half-brothers had more than once 
stood forward as champions of the Feudatories, in 
their attempt to throw off' the yoke which the kingly 
power imposed on them. Robert de Valence, the 
eldest of them, in iioi, Roger de Poitou and Arnoul, 
earl of Pembroke, in 1103, had each lost his English 
fiefs ; and, though humbled, they and their treasons 
were not forgotten. Everard their half-brother 
might well be allowed to wait ; and he had already 
wealth enough and to spare. He was now nearly 


66 ' NORWICH. [a.D. III9- 

forty years old, and at last his time came. Bishop 
Roger thought he would prove no friend to monks ; 
at any rate, he was no monk himself, but a secular 
in more senses than one. On the 12th June, 1121, 
Eyerard, the archdeacon, was consecrated Bishop 
of Norwich and soon entered upon his episcopacy. If 
Blomfield's authorities are to be trusted, he, like 
more than one of his predecessors, and, like his 
great patron the bishop of Salisbury, was a married 
man; surely a scandal and offence to Herbert's 
monks in the priory, but it could not be helped, and 
the bishop had strong friends. 

Henry I. had contributed to raising this stupendous 
church and the monastic buildings adjoining. The 
king must have heard again and again of the won- 
derful pile that had continued growing to larger 
pretensions while he was away in Normandy, and 
the very next Christmas, after Bishop Everard's 
consecration, he came down to spend his Christmas 
at Norwich, and thither the council was summoned 
to attend. A royal visit was a heavy tax upon 
the priory ; but the king had been a benefactor, and 
fresh charters and greater gifts might come; and 
there was much to do, for not yet was the church 
completed. Of Bishop Everard's administration we 
hear but very little. He added to the endowments 
of the priory at Norwich, divided the archdeaconry of 
Suffolk into two, and founded St. Paul's Hospital in 
Norwich on a somewhat grand scale. 

The old question of clerical celibacy was revived, 
but the old laxity proved too strong for half-hearted 
reformers. The building of churches seems to have 


gone on but slowly, for the taxes lay heavy on the 
land in King Henry's time, and in the following 
reign all was anarchy. Then, too, the horrible 
frenzy against the Jews broke out in every kind of 
hateful cruelty, and stories are told of atrocities that 
are shocking to read of. Among those is the story 
of the Christian boy said to have been crucified by 
the Jews at Norwich — they called him St. William — 
which is only one of those curious fabrications which 
are the natural outcome of the imagination heated in 
the furnace of religious intolerance.^ 

Whether it were the evil fortune, or the rashness 
and folly of his house that clung to him, we know 
not, but as three of his brothers had suffered for- 
feiture of their estates, so Bishop Everard, in his 
old age, suffered the loss of his bishopric. A con- 
temporary writer tells us he was deposed for his 
exceeding cruelty. No subsequent chronicler repeats 
the charge, nor is it easy to believe it Probably, 
the cause of his being driven from his see was the 
hostility which he provoked on the part of the monks 
of the priory, who may easily have aroused suspicion 
against him and made his position untenable. The 
true state of the case we shall never know. The date 
of his removal from Norwich was 1145.^ He retired 
to Fontenay in the Cote d'Or; there he spent his 

* Trivet [femp. Edw. I.] in his "Annals," gives no less than 
/our stories of Jews crucifying boys. Florence of Worcester's 
story of the boy murdered by the Jews at Bury is not included 
in these. 

• This is the date given by Rad. Coggeshall for his reHrement 
from Norwich to Fontenay. 

F 2 

68 , NORWICH. [a.D. II45- 

last years in carrying on the building of that famous 
abbey, and there he died.^ 

Meanwhile, during the quarter of a century that 

had passed since Bishop Everard's appointment to 

the bishopric, things had gone on steadily changing 

from bad to worse. The bishop of Salisbury, after 

surviving the death of his royal master some four 

years, was at last worried into his grave by the 

savage tyrant who succeeded. There was no one 

now fitted to preside over the exchequer as Bishop 

Roger had done. Stephen never gave his ministers 

a chance of managing for him, and his financial 

position became desperate. Money was harder and 

harder to get. The king had no friends. It was 

probably in some time of special difficulty— it may 

have been in hopes of exacting some large aid, 

or in part payment of some enforced loan — that 

the convent at Norwich was permitted to choose a 

bishop to succeed Everard, whom the monks can 

never have cordially liked, and probably were glad 

enough to be rid of. However it came to pass, the 

fact is certain that about the year 1146,^ the monks 

elected to the vacant see their own sub-prior, a man 

as unlike his predecessor in every respect as could 

well be imagined. William Turbe, for this was 

his name, had been an inmate of the monastery at 

^ See a curious paper on thJS bishop in the **Norf. Ar- 
chseol.," vol. V. 

' The exact date of Bishop Turbe's consecration is 
unknown. Gervase says it was in 1146 (vol. i., p. 130). He 
assisted at the consecration of Hilary, bishop of Chichester, 
August 4, 1 147 («. J., p. 132). 


Norwich from boyhood. He had been brought up 
under Bishop Herbert's own eye, had drawn in 
the air of the convent with every breath, and was 
deeply influenced by the spirit of monasticisra 
which, in the twelfth century, exhibited some of its 
best and worst characteristics lying very closely side 
by side. 

If, in the struggle that was inevitable between the 
king (as the impersonation of political power be- 
coming more and more absolute) and the Papacy 
(as the witness for a spiritual kingdom where right, 
not might, was to be supreme) it was becoming 
imperative on all men to engage without shrinking, 
there could be no doubt which side Bishop Turbe 
would choose as his own. Bishop Everard had 
been the king's nominee, a secular, a politician, a 
man of the world ; under him all fervour and zeal 
and discipline had languished. Now, peradventure, 
a revival of the old order might be looked for. The 
priory at Norwich had been under eclipse of late, but 
a monk of Bishop Herbert's own training was now to 
be bishop of the see, and the hopes of the regulars 
throughout the diocese might well revive. It is plain 
that from the first Bishop Turbe showed himself 
consistently loyal to the traditions of his early life. 
All that we hear of him conveys the impression of his 
being an uncompromising administrator. He is the 
only bishop of Norwich, during more than a century, 
of whom we never hear that he crossed the Channel. 
Unhappily, we know but little of those last nine years 
of King Stephen's reign — if reign it might be called 
where all was anarchy. 

70 NORWICH. [a.d. II4S~ 

It came to an end at last on the 25th October, 
1 1 54. Three months afterwards, Henry II. was 
crowned at Westminster ; the bishop of Norwich 
being one of those who took part in the ceremony. 
Next year Thomas Becket became chancellor, and 
in May, 1157, the priory of Norwich once more 
entertained a royal visitor when Henry II. came to 
receive the submission of Hugh Bigot, the rebellious 
earl, and the surrender of Norwich Castle, which 
thereupon was delivered into the hands of the king. 
In 1 160 Henry crossed over to Normandy and 
remained away for more than six years ; the great 
chancellor meanwhile watching the finances of the 
country and being to Henry 11. what Bishop Roger 
of Salisbury had been to Henry I. 

Hitherto, Becket, though he had been archdeacon 
of Canterbury for years, had only been in deacon's 
orders; on the 2nd June, 1162, he was ordained 
priest at Canterbury, and next day he was conse- 
crated archbishop, Bishop Turbe, of Norwich, 
assisting at the ceremony. With the resignation of 
the chancellorship, which followed very shortly upon 
his appointment to the primacy, the quarrel between 
Becket and the king began. In the autumn of 11 63 
the breach had occurred, which continued to widen 
till the seven years' strife ended in the closing tragedy. 
The attitude assumed by Becket was the attitude 
of a prelate, with what in those days were regarded 
as advanced views on the rights and privileges of the 
ecclesiastical office. His theory was that the clergy 
should be tried only in the ecclesiastical courts, 
and that, in giving over a clerical delinquent to be 


sentenced by the laity, he was surrendering the 
privileges of his order. At the outset Becket stood 
almost alone. Even the pope gave him but a half 
support. When, at the Council of Clarendon, in 
January, 1164, Becket withdrew the small concession 
he had previously made, Joscelin, bishop of Salisbury, 
and William, bishop of Norwich, threw themselves 
at the archbishop's feet and with tears besought him 
to yield a point. Becket was inflexible, and from that 
moment it was evident that there could be no neutral 
ground between the king and the primate. 

Bishop William, from this time, appears never 
to have left his diocese. It was not long before he 
himself was compelled to act with rigour. Hugh 
Bigot, earl of Norfolk, had been guilty of an act 
of oppression and robbery against the Augustinian 
canons of Pentney, a house which had been 
founded early in the Conqueror's reign by Robert 
de Vaux, a subtenant of the Bigots. William de 
Vaux, grandson of the founder, was prior of Pentney, 
and, under pressure of the lord of the fee, had 
been induced to surrender some valuable estates 
to the earl. The canons protested, but in vain, 
whereupon they appealed to Rome; and in July, 
II 66, the pope wrote to Becket announcing that 
he had excommunicated Earl Hugh and William 
de Vaux. To publish this excommunication, in the 
then state of affairs, was to fly in the face of the 
king, exasperated beyond endurance by the deter- 
mined contumacy of the primate. Nevertheless, the 
bishop of Norwich did not hesitate for a moment. 
Entering the cathedral with his pastoral staff in his 

72 NORWICH. [a.D. II45- 

hand, he mounted the pulpit and publicly pronounced 
the papal sentence against the mighty earl, and, having 
thus discharged what he believed to be his duty, he 
went to the high altar, and, laying his staff upon it, 
solemnly defied any man, king or noble, to take it 
away. If he did not remember, he must often have 
heard how, in the old days, when William Rufus was 
making merchandise of the Church of God, the king 
had snatched from the great Bishop Herbert his 
pastoral staff, the symbol of episcopal authority. Let 
the king that now reigned do the like to another 
bishop of Norwich — if he dared ! 

We read that, after taking this bold step. Bishop 
William turned his back upon the episcopal palace 
— perhaps he left it desolate for awhile — and resumed 
his residence with the monks in the priory in the 
south of the church, becoming once more a member 
of the great religious house, and living as one of the 
brethren of the order. But not even so was he 
satisfied. He called a synod of the clergy of his 
diocese, and then and there openly excommunicated 
Gilbert, bishop of London, who had become one of 
the leaders of what we should now call the Low 
Church party, and when menaces were hurled at 
him and real danger seemed to be hanging over him, 
he kept himself within the precincts of the Cathedral 
Close till the storm blew over. During all this 
business Henry II. was in Normandy; in March, 
1 1 70, he returned to England after a four years' 
absence. He was back again in Normandy in 
June, and in July the reconciliation of Fr^teval 
took .place. On the ist December Bccket landed at 


Sandwich, John of Oxford, the king's chaplain, being 
one of his escort ; on the 2nd he entered Canterbury 
in state, and forthwith sent letters to the bishop of 
Norwich absolving Earl Hugh. During the next 
three weeks Becket seems to have kept up an ani- 
mated correspondence with Bishop William, and 
in a letter of the 9th December he expresses his 
intention of seeking an interview with the earl and 
of paying a visit to the bishop at Norwich, The 
intention was never carried out : on Tuesday, the 
29th December, the primate was murdered in Can- 
terbury cathedral, to the horror and consternation 
of the Christian world. 

The one bishop in England who had stood by the 
dauntless primate during all the long struggle was 
Bishop William of Norwich. It .was over now and 
the martyr's stanch supporter was not likely to 
suffer harm when the tide of public opinion turned. 
In point of fact, Becket's triumph was assured by his 
wicked slaughter in defiance of law, and those who 
stood by him in his peril shared in the honour which 
soon was shed upon his name.^ Bishop William 
survived the catastrophe just three years : he died in 
January, 11 74.2 Three years before his death a fire 
broke out in the monastery ; the mischief wrought 
was considerable, and the business of repairing the 
damage must have taxed the bishop's resources severely 

' Bishop William's memorial lines on Becket are to be 
found in Stubbs*s " Gervase," vol. i.; p. 232. 

^ There is some question as to the exact day. Stubbs's 
** Register," puts it on the 17th ; Eyton on the 20th ; Florence 
of Worcester, August i6th. 

74 NORWICH. [a.D. 1174, 

and clouded his last days with anxiety. He can never 
have been a rich man ; as compared with his great 
predecessors and the five or six bishops who succeeded 
him, he was a very poor one. In and for his diocese 
he lived and died. It was nearly a century before 
another monk was consecrated bishop of the see. In 
the meantime religious life in East Anglia throve but 
ill. In the second year of his episcopate the first 
nunnery in Norfolk was founded. It was subject to 
the Benedictine rule, and was placed in a com- 
manding position upon a spur of the high ground of 
Bracondale, then a suburb of the city of Norwich. 
Here, as time went on, rose up one of the most useful 
religious establishments in the diocese. The nuns 
enjoyed a wide reputation for their success in con- 
ducting a ladies' .school, and for centuries, — indeed, 
down to the very day of the suppression of the con- 
vent, — they retained the affection and respect of all 
classes. About the same time as the nunnery at 
Carrow was founded in Norfolk, another nunnery 
was set up for Suffolk at Bungay. This latter house, 
however, never attained to any great importance. 

Bishop TuRBE died just in time to escape the 
miseries that came upon Norwich in June, 1174. The 
old Earl Hugh was once more in rebellion, and to 
him came a force of Flemish knights sent over by 
Philip, Count of Flanders, who landed on the Suffolk 
coast and marched straight to Norwich. They set fire 
to the city and plundered the wretched inhabitants 
freely, carried off a large number of the principal 
citizens and demanded immense ransoms, On the 
news of the approach of the king. Earl Hugh led his 



Flemings to his castle of Fiamlingham and there 
made the best terms he could. He was required to 
surrender his castles, but the remnants of the foreign 
marauders were allowed to return as they came. Of 
the plundered citizens we hear not another word. 

Henry H. did penance at the shrine of Becket in 
July, hurried back to Normandy to receive the sub- 
mission of his rebellious sons, and in October Becket's 
successor in the primacy consecrated no less than 
four bishops to sees that had been vacant for terms 
varying from three to seven years. Of the eleven 
English bishops who had assisted at Becket's enthrone- 
ment on the 3rd June, 1 162, six had died ; of the rest 
only one — Bartholomew of Exeter — had had the 
courage to stand forth as the martyr's friend and 
advocate. The king was slow to fill up the vacant 
bishoprics ; there was no saying what the attitude of 
a prelate might be, when once he was in possession 
of his temporalities. So, too, it was with the great 
religious houses. The monks were saturated with 
papal sentiment. To weaken their hands was only 
common prudence on the part of the sovereign. 
Hence, no less than twelve of the great monasteries 
were kept without their abbots, the king refusing to 
nominate ; and possibly the delay in appointing to 
the bishopric of Norwich arose from the close con- 
nexion between the last bishop and the priory. Be 
that as it may, the Norwich monks were not called 
upon to elect a successor to Bishop. Turbe till June, 
1175. This time they knew their interest too well to 
think of electing one of their own body, and they 
presented to the king as the object of their choice 

76 NORWICH. [a.D. I164- 

almost the very last man in England whom Bishop 
TuRBE would have wished to succeed him. 

John of Oxford, the nominee for the vacant 
bishopric, was a scholar of conspicuous ability who 
had early attracted to himself the notice of the king. 
Of his parentage we know nothing, nor of the cir- 
cumstances under which he first gained the royal 
favour. He was still a young man when, in February, 
1 1 64, he was entrusted with a difficult and delicate 
mission to the pope for obtaining his Holiness's con- 
firmation of the Constitutions of Clarendon; and 
when in the autumn of the same year Becket, finding 
his position in England no longer safe, fled across 
the Channel, John of Oxford was again com- 
missioned to the court of the king of France, with 
the object of prejudicing Louis against his distin- 
guished guest. Failing in this, he made his way to 
the pope, if possible, to thwart, by his diplomacy, 
Becket's plans. Next year we find him engaged in 
an embassy to Frederick Barbarossa, and present at 
the Council of Wurzburg on the 23rd May. Later 
in the summer he was again at the king's side, 
occupying a position something like Controller of the 
Royal Household. He is described as Clericus with 
several clerici under him, but it is doubtful whether 
he was at this time in any but minor orders. As yet 
he had received no great reward for his diplomatic 
services; but when, at the close of the year, the 
deanery of Salisbury fell vacant by the promotion of 
Henry de Beaumont to the bishopric of Baieux, 
John of Oxford received his first preferment, and 
was duly installed in the deanery by Joscelin, bishop 


of Salisbury. From the pulpit at V^zelay, on Whit- 
sunday, 1 166, Becket, glad to find occasion against 
an old antagonist, hurled a sentence of excommunica- 
tion against the new dean for usurping^ the deanery, 
and another sentence of suspension against the bishop 
of Salisbury for instituting him. It was a brutunt 
fulmen. Five months after this, John of Oxford 
was despatched to Rome, whither Pope Alexander 
had at last returned. 

During the next nine years we can trace him either 
in constant attendance upon the king or employed 
in foreign embassies, and when, in 1170, Becket 
returned from his exile, it was John of Oxford 
who was deputed to escort the primate, and 
who saved him from the personal insults which 
his enemies were preparing to inflict. All through 
those months which elapsed between the death 
of Bishop TuRBE and his own election, John 
OF Oxford seems hardly to have left the king's 
side. He was in attendance upon the court at 
Winchester a fortnight before his own consecration, 
which took place at Lambeth on the 15 th December, 
1 1 75. His promotion to the bishopric produced no 
change in his way of life; to the end of Henry's 
reign, and even after that, he is conspicuous as a 
diplomatist, courtier, and politician, and when in 1 1 79, 
after the resignation of Richard de Lucy, who had 
been Chief Justiciar for twenty-five years, the king 
commenced his great reforms in the administration 

' It seems that previous to his appointment one Arso had 
been put into the deanery and had been ejected. — ^Jones, 
** Fasti Eccles. Sarisbu." 

78 NORWICH. [a.D. 1 1 75. 

of justice, the bishop of Norwich was one of those 
appointed Itinerant Justices to" co-operate with 
Rahuif de Glanville, the great lawyer of his time. 
Henceforth, till the accession of Richard I., he 
appears to have been absorbed in his judicial duties, 
though still occasionally employed as ambassador or 
wherever his talents as a diplomatist were required. 
When the fall of Jerusalem before the arms of 
Saladin horrified the Christian world, and a new out- 
burst of fanaticism urged people to set out to recover 
the holy sepulchre from the infidel, John of Oxford 
was too wary a courtier not to do as other men 
did. He took the cross, /. e,, he vowed to go to the 
Holy Land and join in the Crusade. He appears 
to have given in his name in February, 11 88; but 
he did not hurry himself to start upon his voyage. 
Henry II. died in July, having appointed him one 
of his executors, and he was present at the coro- 
nation of Richard I. in September. During the 
three months that elapsed between his coronation 
and his departure for the Crusade, King Richard 
employed John of Oxford to mediate between the 
monks of Canterbury and the Archbishop in that 
weary quarrel which seemed as if it would never end. 
As might have been expected, the bishop's award 
was in the primate's favour, and of course the dispute 
went on as before. In the summer of 11 90 he started 
in company with Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, 
Bishop Hubert of Salisbury, and Ranulf Glanville, 
the deposed Chief Justiciar. These three pushed 
on to Acre, where two of them perished miserably 
in the siege; the bishop of Norwich turned aside 


to visit the pope at Rome, and there obtained 
absolution from his crusading vow. With empty 
purse, says the Chronicle, he returned to England, 
and peradventure retired to his diocese. King 
Richard, when he heard of his turning back, was 
'angered at the bad example set, and took occasion 
to wring from, him a heavy fine. Richard himself 
arrived at Acre on the 8th June, 1191 ; on the 12th 
July the town surrendered ; on the nth October the 
king set out on his disastrous homeward voyage. As 
soon as Richard's imprisonment became known in 
England, the bishop of Norwich showed extra- 
ordinary energy in raising money for his ransom, but 
it was not till the 13th March, 11 94, that the king 
again set foot on English soil. As for Bishop John, 
his political career was at an end ; he is said, at last 
to have done something for his diocese; to have 
finished the cathedral, to have restored the ravages 
of the fire in Bishop Turbe's time, to have erected 
the infirttiary of the monastery, and to have rebuilt 
the Church of the Holy Trinity at Ipswich. Almost 
the last thing we hear of him is, that he was once 
more called upon to support Hubert, Archbishop 
Baldwin's successor in the primacy, against the Can- 
terbury monks. This was in June, 11 98. In the 
following April King Richard died, and on the 27 th 
of May the bishop of Norwich performed the last 
public act recorded of him — he took part in the 
coronation of King John at Westminster. In June 
next year he died, and was buried in his own cathe- 
dral. No monument seems ever to have marked the 
place of his burial, nor did any conspicuous record 

So NORWICH. [a.D. 1200. 

of his episcopate survive him. A sagacious and 
accomplished man of the world — a scholar of mark, 
fond of books and of learned men, astute, clear- 
headed, ambitious, — he had none of the devout senti- 
ment of the pietist; he was the first of the lawyer and 
politician bishops who ruled over the East Anglian 

The episcopate of John of Oxford is chiefly 
memorable as covering that period of conflict be- 
tween the monasteries and the bishops which, 
besides other disastrous effects that it brought about, 
was the cause of an almost absolute collapse of eccle- 
siastical order and discipline. The mischievous 
appeals to Rome prosecuted on every frivolous pre- 
text were the means of putting a bishop to expense 
wholly disproportionate to that incurred by the ap- 
pellant, who in most cases had little to lose and 
everything to gain. It was idle to legislate where 
the law had no force, and idle to contend for a prin- 
ciple in a court where the longest purse carried the 
verdict with it as a matter of course. Thus the 
hands of the bishops were tied, and their interest in 
their several dioceses could not but get less and less. 

If John of Oxford was rarely resident, his suc- 
cessor was even less so. This was John de Grey — 
often called John the Second — a scion of that 
wonderful stock from which, for six centuries, there 
has sprung an almost uninterrupted succession of 
representative men in Church and State, and which 
down to the present hour shows no sign of decadence. 
He was a Norfolk man by birth, and early gained 
the favour of King John. He filled some office in 


the chancery and, as was usual, soon obtained pre- 
ferment When John of Oxford died he was arch- 
deacon of Gloucester; but immediately on the vacancy 
at Norwich being known, he was appointed to the 
see, and consecrated bishop on the 24th September, 
1 200. The ceremony 'took place in St. Catherine's 
Chapel, Westminster, and was the occasion of a fresh 
outbreak of jealousy and rancour on the part of the 
Canterbury monks, who loudly asserted that the 
archbishop had no right to consecrate except in the 
cathedral church at Canterbury, — to such a pitch 
had the arrogance of the great monasteries grown. 
The quarrel never went far, and Bishop Grey was so 
little involved in it, that when tlie archbishop died, in 
July, 1205, a large section of the Canterbury monks 
were prevailed upon to elect him to the vacancy ^; 
"and this," says Matthew Paris, "was the origin 
of all the discord that came to pass, the which for 
generations wrought harm to England and mischief 
irremediable " ; but on this matter it is not within my 
province to dwell. 

Another candidate for the primacy was put forward 
by another faction among the Canterbury monks. 
Instead of approving either, the pope appointed 
Stephen Langton to the archbishopric. John de 
Grey's election was quashed on the ground of in- 
formality. There were doubtless other good reasons, 
and the probability is, that the bishop of Norwich 

' King John was apparently staying with Bishop Grey at his 
new palace at Gay wood, near Lynn, in October, 1205, /.^., just 
at the time when the question of the succession to the primacy 
was pending. 


82 NORWICH. [a.D. I200. 

was looked upon as too much a friend of the king 
of England to be regarded with favour by the astute 
diplomatists at Rome. Hubert Walter, the late arch- 
bishop, had shown that he had a policy of his own, 
which his younger colleague in the chancery might 
carry out with more vigour and more success, and 
there may have been closer relations between the 
two ecclesiastics which, unknown to us, were per- 
fectly well known at Rome. Both were enormously 
rich, both were Norfolk men, and both conspicuous 
for their life-long fidelity to their royal masters. So 
John de Grey remained bishop of Norwich to the 
end, though in another contest at the close of his 
career his nephew, Walter de Grey, succeeded in 
being elected archbishop ot York, notwithstanding 
all the efforts of Simon I^ngton, the primate's brother, 
to secure for himself the northern province, ^ 

As for the see of Norwich under its new bishop, 
it was left to itself, administered, it is to be supposed, 
by suffragans and officials. The bishop himself was 
everywhere except at home ; sometimes he was com- 
manding an army against the French, sometimes 
sitting as justiciar at Westminster or elsewhere ; for 
years he was away in Ireland, where he filled the 
important office of lord-deputy, and where, perhaps 
to his own advantage, he was not only removed from 
the duties of his diocese, but from the political 
struggles that were going on so fiercely on our side 
of the Channel. He returned from Ireland only to 
witness the shameful humiliation of King John, and the 

* Bishop Grey survived his nephew's consecration to York 
just thirteen days. 


resignation of the crown, and the doing homage for it 
as a fief of the pope. He died, October i8, 12 14, as he 
was returning from an embassy to Rome, whither he 
had gone to arrange the terms on which the interdict 
upon the kingdom should be removed. His body was 
brought home and buried in his cathedral, where 
in life he had been almost a stranger. During all 
the term of his episcopate, the man in East Anglia 
who, above all others, was the witness for earnestness 
and living faith and uncompromising uprightness, 
was — not the bishop of Norwich, but Sampson, abbot 
of Bury St. Edmunds ; not that either the one or the 
other can be credited with any high ideal — the age- 
was coarse, and violent, and cruel — but the bishop 
was a mere man of the world ; the monk, in his 
rough way and according to his light, was certainly 
better than his age, and clearly a seeker after God. 
Neither lived to take part in the great conflict which 
ended in the signing of Magna Charta. When the 
crisis came there was no bishop of Norwich to take 
either side. 

It was just a year after Bishop Grey^s death that 
the French fleet landed the army of invasion on the 
coast of Suffolk; two years and a day after. King 
John followed him to the grave. In the following 
January Louis, the French king, took Norwich and 
sacked it; eight months afterwards his cause had 
collapsed and he was gone. For seven long years 
the see of Norwich remained vacant. Pandulph 
Masca, the pope's legate, though declared bishop as 
early as 12 15, was not consecrated — nor, indeed, 
ordained to the priesthood — till May, 1222; both 

G 2 

84 NORWICH. [a.D. 1226. 

ceremonies were performed at Rome, and it is 
doubtful whether the Italian intruder ever set foot in 
the diocese from which, we may be sure, he did not fail 
to draw the revenues. Of him and of his successor 
Thomas de Blumville^ it is difficult to write with- 
out impatience. Pandulph was a mere Ultramon- 
tane adventurer, to whom preferment brought only 
opportunities for plunder. Bishop Thomas was an 
adventurer too. Both were civilians, who resorted 
to holy orders when it suited their purpose to take 
upon them the ecclesiastical function, and Blum- 
viLLE was quite content to be a cypher in East 
Anglia as far as any episcopal duties were concerned. 
He was consecrated at Canterbury on the 20th of 
December, 1226, by Stephen Langton. Seven years 
after this he was called upon by the pope to make a 
visitation of his diocese — a shameful mandate, and 
one which draws our attention to the only incident 
in this bishop's life that has been recorded. Never- 
theless, Bishop Blumville's episcopate marks an era 
in the religious history of East Anglia, of which far 
too little has hitherto been made ; for it was early in 
his time that the Friars settled in Lynn and Norwich. 

* He was a clerk in the Exchequer. Matth. Paris, lii. 121. 

A.D. 12 14-127^-] NORWICH. 85 


KING henry's bishops. 

It is impossible to understand the history of the 
thirteenth century in England without having some 
notion of the immense power acquired by the pope 
over English affairs when King John formally re- 
signed his crown and kingdom into the hands of 
Innocent III., on the 15th of May, 12 13. By that 
act England became a fief of the papacy, and from 
that moment the pope became the over-lord and pro- 
tector of the king against any who should assail him, 
including Louis, king of France, and the malcontent 
English barons, with Archbishop Langton at their head. 
The pope's interference saved John his throne. Two 
years afterwards (5th of June, 12 15) the Great Charter 
was signed. In August the papal legate pronounced 
the suspension of the archbishop, — a sentence which, 
in the following November, Pope Innocent con- 
firmed. Within a year from this time both king and 
pope were dead. 

When Henry III. succeeded to his father's crown 
he was a boy of ten years old. During all his long 
reign, however inconsistent he might show himself in 
other matters, he never wavered in his allegiance to 
the Roman see. More than once he acknowledged 
that the pope had been his preserver to whom he 
owed his crown ; and in the conflicts of his reign the 

S6 NORWICH. [a.D. I214- 

king and the pope were almost invariably on one side, 
the baronage and the English people on the other. 
Whatever the pope asked the king was prepared to 
grant, and any resistance that was offered to the 
outrageous demands of the papal court proceeded 
from the baronage and the bishops, not from the 
Crown. Meanwhile, the parochial clergy gradually 
became cowed and subservient to the papacy ; even 
the bishops found resistance vain. Bishop Grosse- 
teste of Lincoln stood almost alone, dauntless and 
uncompromising; but for the rest the aggressive 
tactics of Rome proved far too strong, and her power 
went on increasing till its pressure became a crushing 
burden which men despaired of ever casting off. In 
1225 the nuncio Otho failed in obtaining assent to 
the extravagant claim that two prebends in every 
chapter in England should be reserved for the pope's 
nominees; yet even this exorbitant demand was 
rather set aside than rejected, and thirty years after 
Archbishop Langton's death, and when Grosseteste 
too had been laid in his tomb, there was no Church 
in Christendom so absolutely subject to papal direc- 
tion, dictation, and control, as the Church of England. 
At least eight candidates duly elected to the see of 
Canterbury were set aside by the pope in the thirteenth 
century. The country swarmed with foreign eccle- 
siastics who never* came near their cures ; the custom 
of letting out to farm not only the glebe lands, but 
the actual surplice fees of absentees, rose to such a 
height that, when a remedy was at last imperatively 
called for, it was found necessary to proceed with 
some caution ; even the rights of private patronage 

A.D. 1-278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 87 

were threatened, and an organisation somewhat like 
that of the Land League in Ireland began to spread 
alarmingly, till the pope declared that over the rights 
of the laity he claimed no control. Upon the clergy the 
heavy hand of the papacy never relaxed its grasp. 
We are told that in 1252 the revenue which the pope 
derived from England was three times as great as that 
of the king. Where a bishopric could not be secured 
for a papal nominee, measures were taken to obtain 
for him the appointment of archdeacon, and in this 
way Ottobon de Fiesco, afterwards Pope Adrian V., 
became archdeacon of Canterbury; and John de 
Ferentino, the pope's chamberlain, was made arch- 
deacon of Norwich.^ With such a personage for his 
second in command, the bishop of the diocese was 
reduced to a cypher, and we hear no more of Bishop 
Thomas de Blumville than that he died in August, 

The monks forthwith elected their prior, Simon of 
Elmham, a man of saintly life and eminent for his 
learning. Just at this time Henry III. found his 
position desperate ; his principal adviser, occupying 
a position analogous to that of Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, was William de Ralegh ; he had been 
for some time one of the justices itinerant, and had 
proved himself an able minister and profound lawyer. 
Ralegh had made great efforts to extricate the king 
from his embarrassments, but in vain. Simon de 
Montfort was steadily rising into influence as a leader 
of the national party, while Grosseteste was the ac- 

* He narrowly escaped with his life from the violence of a 
mob infuriated against the foreigners in 1232. — Matt. Paris. 

88 NORWICH. [a.D. 1214- 

knowledged chief of the ecclesiastical malcontents. 
The two worked together, but on different lines. The 
king secretly sent over for Otho, the nuncio who had 
been recalled from England ten years before. This 
time he came as papal legate, armed with full powers, 
and he proceeded to hold the memorable council in 
St. Paul's on the 19th of November, 1237. At the 
council he behaved with great dignity, and the canons 
proposed and agreed to, at this assembly, exhibit a 
real desire to cope with the evils of the time which 
had become chronic. The constitutions of Otho 
and his successor, Ottobon de Fiesco, continued in 
force for centuries, and were regarded as the statute 
law of the Church of England down to the time of 
the Reformation ; if the legate were to be judged by 
them alone, he would deserve to be looked upon as 
one of the great reformers of his age, but the in- 
eradicable vice of avarice, the insatiable greed of the 
Italian ecclesiastic, spoilt all. England was, to the 
foreigner of the thirteenth century, what India was to 
the Englishman of the eighteenth, a land to plunder, — 
possibly a land to go^'ern wisely, but certainly to 
plunder, — ^and the legate's five years in England ended 
in his being regarded as a mere robber who had 
pillaged the clergy without limit, without scruple, 
and without pity. 

Meanwhile the election to Norwich had not been 
confirmed, the king withholding his consent. What 
became of the temporalities we are not told. John 
de Ferentino probably administered the affairs of the 
diocese in his own way, by the help of some suffragan 
bishop from the other side of the channel to carry on 

A.D. 1278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 89 

the necessary ordinations. The see of Winchester 
fell vacant; Henry III. desired to secure it for a 
creature of his own ; the monks would not have him 
and chose William de Ralegh. The king violently 
protested; for by this time Ralegh had fallen out 
of favour, having apparently come under the influence 
of Grosseteste. The result was that the see of Win- 
chester too was kept vacant, and continued so for 

It was early in the spring of 1239 when the pope's 
award in the matter of Norwich was finally pro- 
nounced, and the election of Simon of Elmham 
quashed. A little before this (28th of December, 1 238), 
Alexander, bishop of Lichfield, had died, and again 
the question arose as to who was to succeed him. 
Here were three bishoprics vacant, the candidates 
approved by the monks in two instances having been 
objected to by the king, the pope supporting him in 
his protest. On the 23rd of February the canons of 
Lichfield proceeded to elect a bishop, and their choice 
fell upon William de Ralegh. On the loth of 
April the monks of Norwich were permitted to choose 
a bishop to supersede their prior, whose election was 
void : they, too, chose William de Ralegh. The 
elect to three bishoprics had to declare which he pre- 
ferred. The king would not have him at Winchester; 
between the other two he did not hesitate long. He 
accepted the call from Norwich, and to that see he 
was consecrated, after a delay of some months, by 
Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, on the 25th of 
September, 1239. If any explanation is required 
for the active opposition which Bishop Ralegh 

9© NORWICH. [a.D. I214- 

encountered at the king's hands, and the remarkable 
unanimity with which he was elected to three vacancies 
at once, it must be sought in the fact that about the 
time of the legate Otho's arrival in England, Ralegh 
had gone over to the national party, and that he was 
on friendly terms with Bishop Grosseteste and well 
disposed towards the friars. He had not long been 
bishop of Norwich when he received an order to 
make a return of the number of Italians beneficed 
in his diocese. Unhappily, the return, if any was 
made, has perished. Of the way in which he ad- 
ministered his diocese no records remain. He had 
occupied the see barely two years when he was a 
second time elected bishop of Winchester ; again the 
king opposed his election, but this time unavailingly, 
and he was enthroned on the 20th of November, 1244, 
Winchester having been left without a bishop for just 
six years. ^ 

Bishop Ralegh's successor at Norwich was Walter 
DE SuFFiELD, or WALTER Calthorp (for he is 
called indifferently by either surname), a man of un- 
blemished character, a graduate of the University of 
Paris,^ a scion of an old Norfolk house whose an- 
cestors had enjoyed large possessions in East Anglia, 
and a friend of Bishop Grosseteste and of the Fran- 
ciscans. Elected by the monks shortly after the 
choice of the Winchester convent had fallen upon 

* On the whole business, see Luard's " Grosseteste," Introd,, 
p. lix. 

' And probably also of Oxford, as Blomfield suggests. 
Richard de Wick, bishop of Chichester, was also a graduate 
of both universities. 

A.D. 1278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 9I 

his predecessor, he received the royal assent on the 
9th of July, 1244, and was consecrated in the church 
of the nunnery at Carrow on the 19th of February 
following. His episcopate is memorable for the assess- 
ment which was made under his direction of all the 
ecclesiastical property in England, for the purpose of 
adjusting the taxation levied by the pope. The 
Norwich Taxation, as it was called, continued in 
force as the accepted rating-book for the clergy and 
religious houses until a new assessment was made 
under the orders of Pope Nicholas IV., which came 
into operation in 1291. Bishop Calthorp's will has 
come down to us, and shows him to have been a 
man of vast possessions and of large-hearted munifi- 
cence. The substance of it may be read in Blom- 
field's " History of Norfolk," and it is well worth 
perusal. To one friend he leaves his " little Bible " ; 
to another his Psalter; to a third "a great Bible"; 
and to the hospital of St. Giles, which he had founded 
at Norwich, " the Bible I bought of Master Simon 
Blound, and the cup out of which the poor children 
drank." He left, too, a large and valuable library 
behind him, the bulk of which he bequeathed to his 
nephew, Walter de Calthorp. He remembered the 
monastery at Norwich, and was liberal to the friars, 
both Dominican and Franciscan; and he ordered that 
he should be buried in the new Lady Chapel which 
he had thrown out at the east end of the cathedral, 
having, it is asserted, demolished the old Lady 
Chapel of Herbert Losinga with a view to building 
a larger and more sumptuous appendage to the 
mother-church. The foundations of Bishop Cal- 

92 NORWICH. [a.D. I214- 

THORp's chapel show it to have been constructed in 
far too light and flimsy a way to stand the wear of 
centuries, and in little more than 300 years Time 
the avenger saw it crumble to decay. Before the 
high altar of this chapel they laid the bishop, as his 
will directed ; and shortly after his burial, reverence 
for his memory, wonder at his sanctity, or gratitude 
for his munificence, led to the belief that miracles 
were wrought at his tomb. He is the only bishop of 
Norwich whose saintly life has been his chief cha- 
racteristic, and the traditions of whose holiness and 
unworldly self-denial survived when almost everything 
else that concerned him had been forgotten. Bishop 
Calthorp is a good specimen of a mediaeval prelate, 
keeping up a princely state and lavish hospitality in 
his diocese, holding aloof from the war of politics, 
and if not strong enough to change the face of his 
times or to act as a leader in carrying out much- 
needed reforms, yet doing the best he could under 
the circumstances in which he found himself, and 
showing by his example that in the worst times a 
man of faith and prayer may live near to God. He 
died at Colchester on the 20th of May, 1257. 
Before the end of the month his successor was 
chosen and the election approved by the king. 

The new bishop was another Norfolk man, Simon 
DE Watton, which for the most part men spelt as the 
word is pronounced in Norfolk, Wauton. He was 
another of the lawyer-bishops ; he had been for some 
years an industrious functionary in the Exchequer 
and if he was even in holy orders at all he had as yet 
received no preferment. On the occurrence of the 

A.D. 1278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 93 

vacancy at Norwich, we are told he showed some un- 
seemly haste and greediness ; and aftertimes remem- 
bered or repeated that he had been a conspicuous 
example of the sin that his name recalled, and that, 
too, in a Simoniacal age. Nevertheless, he secured 
the bishopric, and was enthroned in the cathedral on 
the 17th March, 1258. 

Not much was to be expected from a prelate whose 
antecedents were wholly secular; and accordingly 
we know little or nothing of the way in which the 
diocese fared under his rule. The first year of his 
episcopate was disastrous for East Anglia, and by 
reason of the floods in summer and the continued 
rain in harvest, a grievous famine ensued, "so that 
men ate horseflesh and the bark of trees, yea, even 
worse, and many died of hunger." In the council 
held at Lambeth on the 8th of May, 1261, Bishop 
Simon took part; the king. Prince Edward, arid 
Queen Eleanor protesting against the proceedings, 
but in vain. Next year we find the bishop on the 
side against the baronage, and publishing the papal 
absolution from the oath which Henry III., in 
1258, had sworn to carry out the reforms then 
agreed on. It was a step which provoked immense 
indignation. Civil war broke out, and the popular 
party was furious against every one who favoured 
the pope and his foreigners. Peter of Savoy, the 
detested bishop of Hereford, fell into the hands 
of the barons, and was actually thrown into prison. 
The bishop of Norwich was compelled to take 
sanctuary in the abbey of St Edmund: there 
only could he be safe. During all this time the 

94 NORWICH. [a.D. 1214- 

great East Anglian abbey had been growing in 
influence and power; and now using their opportunity, 
the monks, who — much to their annoyance — had for 
a while been compelled to submit to the establish- 
ment of a house of Franciscan friars outside the 
convent walls, contrived to rid themselves with a high 
hand of their too zealous neighbours. Three years 
after this the bishop died, on the 2nd of January, 
1266. He was buried in Bishop Calthorp's Lady 
Chapel. If he lived in evil times, Bishop Simon did 
little to mend them, — a man of whom History has 
no good to tell. 

Once more King Henry had to assent to the elec- 
tion of a bishop of Norwich. The kingdom was in a 
pitiful state; the battle of Evesham, on the 4th of 
August, 1265, had, to all appearance, utterly crushed 
the hopes of the popular party, left it without a 
leader, and scattered to all the winds the forces that 
Simon de Montfort had brought into union. He and 
his followers were "disinherited" of all their pos- 
sessions ; but desperate men are wont to be trouble- 
some, and up and down the land there was much 
lawlessness, robbery, and pillage. Some of the disin- 
heritcd took refuge in the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, 
and there they assumed a menacing attitude. It was 
no time for keeping bishoprics vacant and making 
more enemies, so the monks of Norwich were, without 
delay, permitted to proceed to an election, and on 
the 23rd of January, 1266, — just three weeks after 
the death of Simon de Watton, — they chose as his 
successor their own prior, Roger de Skerning. 

A Norfolk man, like his predecessor, and born, as 

A.D. 1278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. > 95 

his name implies, at a village adjoining the town of 
East Dereham, he had been a monk of Norwich for 
many years, and prior of the monastery since 1257. 
The early years of his episcopate were full of trouble. 
For more than a twelvemonth the party of the dis- 
inherited continued to hold out in East Anglia ; from 
the fastnesses, in Marshland they defied the king's 
forces, levying black-mail mercilessly on the wretched 
inhabitants. Bury St. Edmunds was one of their 
places of refuge; thence they came out, in the 
spring of 1266, and made an attempt to capture 
Lynn, after pillaging the district round ; the towns- 
men beat them back, but they got clear off with their 
booty. In May the Royalists took Bury, and fined 
the abbey a hundred pounds and the townsmen two 
hundred marks for their support of the insurgents. 
In August, however, fortune favoured the rebels 
once more, and they captured Ely; issuing thence 
in great force they assailed Norwich, and sacked it 
on the 19th of December, carrying away immense 
plunder. It was not till July, 1267, that Prince 
Edward was strong enough to recover Ely, and 
with this success the civil war was at an end. No 
part of England had suffered more than the diocese 
of Norwich during the latter stages of the strife, 
or had greater reason to rejoice when peace came 
at last. 

Meanwhile, — in October, 1265, — the papal legate, 
Ottobon, arrived from Rome in the hope of mediating 
between the belligerents. A council was held in 
London, at which the canons promulgated by Otho 
in the previous assembly were confirmed, together 

96 NORWICH. [a.D. I214- 

with some additional ones. They give us a deplorable 
picture of the condition of religion in England at 
the time. Churches had been pulled down on 
pretence of repairing them, others had been left un- 
consecrated for years ; benefices had been despoiled 
of their incomes to enrich the monasteries, and left 
without any provision for the working clergy, who 
were driven to become pluralists or to live on fees 
improperly demanded; parishes were left in sole 
charge of deacons or even acolytes, who resigned 
their people for absolution and even the sacrament 
of the altar to the friars ; grave laxity in admitting 
to holy orders prevailed, and candidates in many 
cases were subject to little or no scrutiny or ex- 
amination. These were evils that were patent, and 
the council attempted to deal with them, and did 
provide wholesome remedies. But the re-enactment 
of the canons of Otho so soon after they were 
promulgated goes far to prove that the previous 
legislation had been useless. Laws need an ex- 
ecutive at once powerful and just, and discipline in 
Church or State depends less on the excellence of 
the law than on the character of those whose duty it is 
to carry out the law. One thing is significant : 
Bishop Roger found the benefice of his own birth- 
place divided into two portions, though there was no 
second church ; the rector of one portion did all the 
work, the rector of the other portion employed a vicar 
for doing the absolutely necessary duties which he 
was bound to discharge, and paid that vicar the sum 
of six marks annually for his services. The same 
arrangement has continued to the present day, the 


of the previous bishop his successor had been nomi- 
nated. As things were managed then it was idle to 
think of resisting the pope, and Baldok forthwith 
resigned all claim to the see. This was on the 3rd 
September, Ayermin was then in France and on 
the 15 th of the month he was consecrated bishop of 
Norwich by two foreign bishops at the church of St. 
Germain des Prbs and forthwith started homewards. 

Though the Chancellor Baldok — thus a second 
time disappointed of his prize — made no resistance 
to the papal orders, he could do something to annoy 
his successful rival. He joined with the younger 
Despenser in recommending the king to withhold 
the temporalities of the see, and they were actually 
retained in the king's hands, and paid into the 
exchequer, until Bishop Ayermin's petition for their 
restitution was at length granted, after a delay of 
nearly two years, and only when Edward III. had 
succeeded to the crown. Before that event came 
to pass the cause of the Despensers had utterly col- 
lapsed, the Chancellor Baldok had died miserably 
in Newgate, and Ayermin, who had supplanted him 
in his bishopric, had superseded him too as keeper of 
the great seal. It was a time of shameful corruption 
among all classes, when in Church and State every 
man was seeking his own, none the things which 
are Jesus Christ's. It is humiliating to have to 
confess that the new bishop of Norwich stands out 
conspicuous before others for his insatiable greed 
and worldliness.^ Rarely in his diocese, he left the 

' At the time of his being promoted to the see of Norwich he 
was holding no less than jeven prebendal stalls in various 


114 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

administration of it to his officials, while he himself 
was immersed in politics, or in amassing money with 
a view to found a family which should perpetuate his 
name. He died in London on the 27th March, 1336, 
after an episcopate of little more than ten years, 
during which, from anything that appears, he did 
less in and for his bishopric than any of those who 
went before him. 

Two days after Bishop Ayermin's death the monks 
of Norwich elected one of their own body — Thomas 
DE Hemenhall, a Norfolk man, to succeed. The 
days of free election to bishoprics had gone by, and 
even royal favourites had small chance of preferment 
if they trusted to kingly patronage alone. The 
English bishoprics were in the hands of the pope, 
to deal with almost as he pleased ; and though king 
and people, high and low, might protest, present 
gravamina^ or even pass statutes against papal aggres- 
sion, all was of little avail. Except during the period 
of the great papal schism, no bishop of Norwich was 
again consecrated to the see unless by papal provision 
or direct appointment till the fifteenth century had all 
but closed, and the final rupture was at hand. At the 
time we are now concerned with, it was quite enough 
to destroy any man's chance of obtaining an English 
bishopric that he had been chosen by the electors in 

cathedrals ; two of them were in the church of Lincoln, and two 
in the church of York. His brother Richard was made vicar- 
general of the diocese of Norwich, and he held this post and 
many other preferments together with the chancellorship of 
Salisbury. Another brother, Adam, became archdeacon of 


whom theoretically the appointment was vested, and 
Thomas of Hemenhall must have been perfectly 
well aware that he would not be accepted by the 
pope, nor consecrated bishop, but he made his way 
to Avignon nevertheless, where, as a matter of course, 
Benedict XII. annulled the election. 

Three weeks after the vacancy had occurred in 
the see of Norwich, Hotham, bishop of Ely, had 
died. Into that bishopric the pope translated Simon 
Montague, bishop of Worcester; he made Hemen- 
hall bishop of Worcester, and conferred the see of 
Norwich upon Dr. Antony Bek, dean of Lincoln, 
who had come to Avignon a few weeks before 
Bishop Ayermin's death, probably with a view to 
obtain the promise of the bishopric when it should 
fall in. 

Bishop Antony Bek was consecrated by the pope 
at Avignon on the 30th March, 1337, and, returning 
to England, received the temporalities from the king 
on the 9th July. Though the new bishop was proud 
of his ancestry, and imperious in temper, he was at 
any rate a man of learning and principle, and fearless 
and inflexible when standing up for what he believed 
to be right ; I cannot find that he ever left the work 
of his diocese to others,^ and he was very rarely 
absent from it. He evidently found it in a deplorable 
condition, but he was too old a man to do much in 
the way of reform, even if he had been ever so zealous 
and in earnest. One of his first acts was to sue his 
predecessor's executors for dilapidation and a dis- 

^ There is nothing in his Register to bear out the assertion of 

Pitts, quoted by Blomefield, vol. iii., p. 505, v. 6, 

I 2 

Il6 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

graceful waste of the property of the see,^ and he 
appears to have recovered nearly nineteen hundred 
pounds sterling, an enormous sum in the days of 
Edward III. When Archbishop Stratford attempted 
to hold a visitation of the Norwich diocese, Bishop 
Bek took exception to the primate's carrying out his 
intention (on what ground has not been made clear 
to us); and when the archbishop persisted in the 
attempt, and obtained, moreover, the support of the 
king, even so he could not be persuaded to give way, 
but appealed to the pope against the world. Bishop 
Bek was, before all things, a bishop, and if he had 
lived in the days of Anselm and Becket, history 
would have had more to tell of a prelate at once so 
resolute and aggressive. His register leaves upon us 
the impression of his having been a friend of scholars, 
and his best preferment was bestowed upon graduates 
of the Universities. But he was no friend to monks ; 
indeed, he tried to rule them with a rod of iron, and 
to make the priory of Norwich subject to the bishop 
of the see. In this, it is said, he failed. He died 
on the 19th of December, 1343, in the seventh year of 
his episcopate, and the seventy-ninth year of his age.- 
Bishop Bek was free from one vice, at any rate ; 
he is the first bishop of Norwich of whom I can find 
no evidence that he ever robbed the parochial clergy 
to enrich a religious house. His successor made up 

» "Harl. MS.,'' 3,720, f. xiii. 

* He was born on the day of the battle of Evesham, Aug. 4, 
1265 (** Harl. MS.," «. s,). He had been elected to the see of 
Lincoln as far back as 1320, but the pope, as usual, quashed 
his election. 


for any lack of love towards the Regulars by proving 
himself the most outrageous spoiler of the parish 
priests that the see of Norwich has ever known. This 
was William Bateman, son of a wealthy citizen of 
Norwich, who had been no less than eleven times 
bailiff of the city,^ and one of its representatives in 
the Parliament of 1326. His son, the future bishop, 
is said to have received his education in his native 
city, and may, not improbably, have been one of 
those scholars whom the priory about this time sup- 
ported at Cambridge. He certainly proceeded Doctor 
of Civil Law in that University, and as early as 1328 
was collated to the archdeaconry of Norwich by Bishop 
Ayermin. Soon after this he was sent to Avignon, 
and he rose high in the favour of Pope John XXII. 
His great wealth insured him preferment, and when 
Bishop Bek died Clement VI. bestowed upon him 
the vacant see, much to the joy of the Norwich monks, 
who had gone through the form of electing him 
unanimously, and of the citizens who looked upon his 
father's son as one of themselves. He was consecrated 
by the pope himself at Avignon, and shortly after- 
wards he took possession of his diocese and proceeded 
to hold a visitation of it, in which he showed extra- 
ordinary boldness. Not content with inspecting the 
Norwich Priory, he went on to assert his episcopal 
authority over the far more powerful and wealthy 
Abbey of St. Edmunds, and thereby involved himself 
in costly and protracted litigation with the monastery 
and the large body of its partizans, who were pre- 

There was no Mayor of Norwich till 1403, Blomefield, 
vol. iii., 12. 

Il8 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

pared to go all lengths in resisting episcopal juris- 
diction. Three years of Bishop Bateman's life were 
embittered by this vexatious conflict. The monks 
were too strong for the bishop, and he suffered 
severely for his rash attempt, as others had suffered 
before him. During those years there was "great 
internal prosperity in England as well as brilliant 
success abroad," and when King Edward III. re- 
turned in the autumn of 1347, the victory of Cregy, 
the defeat and imprisonment of David II., king of 
Scotland, and the capture of Calais, were among the 
substantial results of the costly warfare. The king's 
return seems to have brought the bishop some relief 
from the troubles into which his quarrel with the 
great abbey had plunged him, and we hear no more 
of contentions in the law courts; but the whole 
diocese had been made to suffer grievously during 
the course of the struggle.^ Next year was, says 
Walsingham, a year of peace and glory, and though 
it closed with a very heavy rainfall, this did not 
prevent the price of corn falling lower than it had 
been at for some time; but in the year 1349 came 
the visitation of the great plague.^ English history 
can tell of no calamity so widespread and so terrible 
in. its incidence, and no part of the kingdom suffered 
more dreadfully than East Anglia did from the scourge. 
The institution books of the diocese tell their own 
tale ; during the five years comprehended between 

* See Blomefield, iii., 508. 

* The Bridlington Chron. says it appeared first at Melcombe, 
in July, 1347, and lasted two years. "Chron* Ed. I. and 
Ed. II.*' (Stubbs), note ii., p. 149. 


the 25th March, 1344, and the same day of 1349, the 
annual average of institutions of all kinds amounts to 
exactly 81. During the next year ending 25th March, 
1350, no less than 831 persons received institution 
within the diocese. In the spring of 1349 Bishop 
Bateman was absent, employed in conducting nego- 
tiations for peace between England and France ; he 
returned to Norfolk in the beginning of June to find 
his brother, Sir Bartholomew Bateman, of Gillingham, 
dead, and the plague raging with awful severity. 
During the next two months the three chief nunneries 
in the diocese, Bungay, Carrow, and Ridlingfield, 
lost their prioresses. All the canons of Mount Joye 
in Heveringland died. At Hickling only a single 
canon survived, and he a novice who made his pro- 
fession to the prior as he lay dying. At Walsingham, 
at Thetford, at Westacre, at the great Abbey of St, 
Benet's, Hulm, the same frightful mortality prevailed, 
and in six months no less than twenty-one. religious 
houses had lost their rulers. In the city of Norwich 
it is said that the mortality was most frightful; in 
Yarmouth it was scarcely less ; Lynn seems to have 
escaped with comparative immunity. Early in the 
autumn the bishop made application to the pope for 
direction, and, on the 13th of October, Clement VI. 
addressed to him a bull, wherein provision was made 
against the consequences of the dreadful visitation ot 
pestilence. In view of the serious falling off in the 
supply of clergy, and the fact that, as a result of that 
falling off, many parishes were left without any parsons 
to serve them, the bishop was authorised to ordain 
sixty young men to the ministry, who might be two 


120 NORWICH. [a.D. I278- 

years below the canonical age, provided that they 
approved themselves on examination fit and proper 
persons to receive holy orders ; in all cases, however, 
the candidates must have completed their twenty-first 
year. It is much to the credit of Bishop Bateman 
that, so far from availing himself to the utmost of 
the papal dispensation, he exercised the right con- 
veyed with scrupulous reserve, and only five instances 
occur in his register of candidates under the canonical 
age being admitted to a cure of souls. The fact that / 

this immense strain upon the reserve of clergy who / 

were unbeneficed at the outbreak of the plague did 
not exhaust the supply to a far greater extent than 
appears to have been the case, indicates that the 
number of clergy in the diocese of Norwich, in the 
middle of the fourteenth century, must have been 
very large, and, consequently, that the general level 
of education in the diocese was much higher than 
is often assumed to have been the case. The 
instances of benefices bestowed upon any below the 
priesthood are rare, and in almost every instance 
they are the nominees of the king, or the nobility, 
whom it would have been idle to gainsay. Judging 
by the way in which the great lords exercised their 
patronage in the East Anglian diocese at this period, 
it is plain that the laity were not ashamed to make 
merchandise of their patronage, and whether the 
clergy were or were not unconscionable in their readi- 
ness to buy preferment, the laity were ready enough 
to sell. 

During all this terrible time Bishop Bateman never 
left his diocese for a day. In the single month of July 

A.D. 1 35 5-1 UNDER THE EDWARDS. 121 

he personally instituted 207 persons. Till the 9th 
of the month he was at Norwich, the plague making 
awful havoc all round him. On the loth he moved 
to Hoxne, and there in a single day instituted twenty 
persons; from this time till the pestilence abated 
he moved about from place to place, rarely staying 
more than a fortnight in any one house, and followed 
everywhere by the troops of clergy, who came to be 
admitted to the livings of such as had died. By 
April, 1350, the mortality had so much abated that 
things had returned to their normal condition ; but 
in a single year the whole face of the diocese must 
have changed. Bearing in mind that the episcopal 
records take no account of deaths in the monasteries, 
except where the head of the house was carried off ; 
that none of the unbeneficed clergy are noticed 
except where they were presented with preferment ; 
that the mendicant orders, who were labouring 
among the townspeople, and were hardly under 
episcopal jurisdiction, never came before the bishop 
at all, — it is impossible to estimate the number of 
clergy in the diocese of Norwich whom the " Black 
Death " carried off at less than two thousand. The 
effect of so huge a calamity it is almost impossible for 
us now to conceive ; the smaller benefices could not 
be filled up, many must have remained for years 
without incumbents. It is observable that, in the 
episcopate of Bishop Tottington, that prelate set 
himself, in several cases, to unite two livings to be 
held by the same person, as if the difficulty of filling 
the less valuable cures had continued even so long 
after the great plague. 

122 NORWICH. [a.D. I278- 

Bishop Bateman seems to have persuaded himself 
that all hope for the future of his diocese lay in 
strengthening the hands of the Regulars at the ex- 
pense of the secular clerg)% and he lost no oppor- 
tunity of alienating the endowments of a country cure 
and handing them over to a decaying religious house, 
or to the use of the college which he set himself to 
found at Cambridge, as a theological seminary for 
his own diocese. This college — Trinity Hall — was 
intended especially as a school of civil law.^ As 
time went on, and the study of civil law and divinity 
became divorced, the Bishop's foundation ceased 
to be, in any sense, a theological seminary; and 
at the present day it continues to be, as it has 
been for long, more of a law college \}cizx\. any other 
at either of the universities. The bishop was not 
the only founder of an educational endowment for 
the diocese. The example had been set two years 
before the Black Death, by Edmund Gonville, rector 
of Terrington, who, in January, 1347, had already 
given property in Cambridge for the endowment 
of the college which received his name, though, two 
centuries later, the great accession to its original en- 
dowments which Dr. Caius bestowed upon Gonville 
Hall, caused the name of the later benefactor to take 
precedence of the earlier one. The year after the 
Black Death again another college in Cambridge — 

* The notion, alluded to by Blomefield, that Edward Gonville's 
college at Rushworih was intended to be a kind of preparatory 
school to his college at Cambridge, is erroneous. Rushworth 
was founded as early as 1342, **Bodl. Chart," p. 211 ; there is 
nothing to show that it had any connexion with education. 

A.D. 1 355-] UNDER THE EDWARDS. 1 23 

the second in twenty-eight years — was founded, viz., 
the college of Corpus Christi ; and this, too, became 
eventually one of the great Norfolk colleges, when 
Archbishop Parker added so munificently to its re- 
sources in the after- times; nor was the bishop's 
example without effect, for we find that his chan- 
cellor, Dr. Richard Lyng, followed closely in his 
steps; and though not rich enough to found a college, 
yet he rendered himself conspicuous by his liberal gift 
to the university for the assistance of needy scholars. 
If Bishop Bateman and others about him were 
robbers of churches, they had at any rate no mean 
and selfish aim in their pillage ; doubtless they per- 
suaded themselves that it was necessary to further 
the cause of learning, and that in such a cause it was 
pardonable to do evil in view of the great good that 
might come. 

Bishop Bateman died at Avignon on the 6th 
January, 1355, while employed in one of the many 
embassies on which he was sent by Edward III., 
and Pope Innocent VI. appointed as his successor 
Thomas Percy, brother of Henry, Earl of Northum- 
berland, a young man under twenty-two years of 

124 NORWICH. [a.D. 1356- 



When Bishop Percy succeeded to the see of Nor- 
wich, the friars had been at work in East Anglia for 
just 130 years. The action of those forces which 
are more essentially political we have caught some 
glimpses of in the course of our narrative ; but these 
touch only the surface of things, and have to do with 
the fortunes of the Church only, as it is a corporation 
concerned with the state in certain relations with the 
people. The history of a diocese is only half written 
when nothing more than a record of the doings of 
its principal officials is set down ; a complete diocesan 
history, if such a work were possible, would com- 
prehend not only a summary of the external fortunes 
or the administration of the rulers, but a record, too, 
of the religious life, the pulsations of the heart of the 
people, their aspirations, their errors while groping 
for the truth, the vagaries of their fanaticism, their 
passionate cries for more light in the thick darkness 
or at the dawn. Happy is the land that has no 
history — is true of nations considered as aggregates 
of human creatures to whom the earthly life is every- 
thing : is it true of the Church, the life of whose 
members is concerned with a great hope " beyond 
the veil " ? 

If we are to judge of the religious condition of 


the diocese of Norwich during the period now under 
review, we must seek for evidence in the condition of 
the monasteries, the notices of the work done by the 
Mendicant orders, the traces of synodical action, 
and the habits of life and prevailing sentiment in the 
country parishes. Unfortunately, the evidence is very 
defective ; we are left to draw our inferences from 
mere fragments of information that we come upon 
incidentally in miscellaneous, and often unpromising, 
sources. It is certain, however, that the influences of 
the friars for good or evil was very powerful and very 
extensive. With them the action of voluntaryism came 
in precisely where it was most wanted — namely, in the 
towns. There was scarcely a town in Norfolk or 
Suffolk of any importance that had not been despoiled 
of its endowments by the grasping hands of the mo- 
nastic bodies. At Norwich, Yarmouth, and Lynn, 
at Swaffham, East Dereham, and Wymondham, at 
Bungay, Stowmarket, and Aylsham the rectorial tithes 
and the glebe had been absorbed by the religious 
houses. The abbeys of St. Edmund and of St. Benet's 
Hulm, indeed all the older monasteries, had for gene- 
rations been appropriating the rectories all over East 
Anglia, and leaving the vicars, who were in theor}^ 
mere stipendiary curates, though irremovable, to 
the tender mercies of their parishioners, on whose 
offerings, more or less voluntary, they had to depend 
for their subsistence. In many cases the impropria- 
tors laid claim even to a proportion of the fees and 

As a consequence of this pillage, the town clergy 
were very needy and of a lower status than those 

126 NORWICH. [a.D. 1356- 

in the country; in fact, they stood to the bene- 
ficed clergy in the villages pretty much in the same 
relation that too many of the disheartened and ill- 
provided townsmen in the present day stand to their 
more fortunate brethren in the country parishes. The 
friars threw themselves unreservedly upon the volun- 
tary principle ; they would have no endowments ; 
these had been tried and found wanting. Let them 
go ! Nay, the parochial system in the towns had 
been tried and found wanting, too. Let that also go ! 
The friars never asked in what parish this street or 
that house lay ; wherever they were wanted there they 
came and there they ministered. The result was 
that, speaking within certain limits, the whole work 
of evangelising the masses had rapidly fallen into the 
hands of the Mendicant orders, and the more they 
prospered the poorer the town clergy became. There 
were constant complaints on the part of these latter, 
constant attempts to prevent the Mendicants from 
burying in their new churchyards, and so robbing the 
vicars of the burial fees ; quarrelling, soreness, and 
bitter jealousy were chronic. The monks had swept 
away the endowments, now the friars were sweeping 
away the fees. The country parson, secure of his 
position, was comparatively indifferent ; in the villages 
there could be no hope for voluntaryism, and into the 
villages the friars rarely came, and they never stayed. 
Biit upon the monasteries they were exercising an 
immense influence, directly and indirectly, and, on 
the whole, it was an influence for good. We trace it 
in the memorable visitation of the East Anglian mo- 
nasteries in 1 281, by Archbishop Peckham, the first 



Franciscan who was primate ; or in the attempt of 
Archbishop Winchelsey in 1298 to bring about a 
reform of the conventual life at Canterbury; in the now 
general practice of the monasteries sending scholars 
to the universities ; in the great stimulus given to intel- 
lectual life; in the taste for scientific culture, and 
the zeal shown in collecting libraries. Of the whole 
number of Norfolk and Suffolk men whose names 
appear in the roll of distinguished men of letters 
during the fourteenth century nearly two-thirds be- 
longed to the Mendicant orders. The Carmelites 
boasted of none of their brethren with more pride 
than of John of Baconsthorpe. The Franciscans 
have no one more worthy of renown than Roger 
Bacon. When William of Occam was delivering his 
heaviest blows against Pope John XXII., it was a 
Norfolk man, John of Walsingham, a Carmelite of 
Bumham, who was chosen to answer him. The 
country* parsons were, it seems, doing their duty 
quietly and unobtrusively, and occupying almost 
exactly the same social position that they do at the 
present day, but the great preachers in the town 
pulpits, the teachers and lecturers in the universities, 
the educators of the country, were friars, in very large 

We have no such direct evidence of the condition 
of the diocese of Norwich as that which exists for the 
diocese of Winchester at the beginning of the four- 
teenth century, yet there is good reason for believing 
that the condition of the East Anglian see was not 
very different from the other. The number of clergy 
was largely in excess of the cures, though it must 

128 NORWICH. [A.D.,1356- 

be remembered that the term clerk in those days 
was applied to any one who lived by his brains, the 
clerks being, in fact, the professional classes, and 
comprehending among themselves scores of men in* 
every diocese who had no intention of exercising 
any spiritual function, or of being in any sense 
ministers of religion. Yet even so there was, we 
find, a crowd of priests^ unemployed, living on their 
means or on their friends, who gave the bishops much 
trouble by taking work irregularly and pocketing the 
fees. There were disputes between rectors and curates 
(vicars), and quarrels between the clergy and their 
parishioners, as to who should keep up the fences of 
the churchyards. There were, too, among the clergy, 
some who dressed like laymen, and there were parishes 
too poor to provide the necessary church furniture, 
so that, when the bishop was on his visitation, one par- 
son would borrow another's vestments to make a good 
appearance before his diocesan ; but, on the* whole, 
the impression left upon us is favourable to the clergy ; 
they were obviously better than their times. Some 
were scandalous, some were needy, but the age was 
coarse and rough : the records of crime and violence, 
the grossness and the cruelty of all classes in the 
fourteenth century, make it only too evident that the 
moral instincts of the nation at large were feeble, 
and the consciences of men ill-instructed and ill- 
trained. Nevertheless, there has been an evident 
advance from earlier times, and the abominations with 
which the earlier penitentiaries deal, have not only 
diminished, but have almost disappeared, though bri- 
gandage, bloodshed, and suicide were prevalent to an 

A.D. 1278.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 97 

rector of the one mediety being the single parson of 
the parish, but receiving, in recognition of his office 
as vicar under the lay rector of the second mediety-, 
the same yearly payment of six marks as his prede- 
cessors did six hundred years ago. 

Bishop Roger's episcopate was disgraced by a 
very serious conflict in the year 1272 between the 
citizens of Norwich and the monks of the priory, 
for which there remains little room for doubting that 
the priory was almost wholly to blame. There had 
been a soreness and jealousy between the city and 
the monastery of some years' standing, which at last 
burst forth into a violent fray in June, 1272, when 
one of the prior's party slew one of the citizens. 
The bishop was absent at the time, but he no sooner 
heard of the affair than he excommunicated the 
citizens, and laid the city under an interdict, thereby 
showing the natural bias of a monk siding with his 
own convent. Encouraged by the bishop's support, 
the prior hastened to introduce a force of armed 
ruffians into the cathedral close, and the citizens 
retaliated, goaded to frenzy by the outrageous provo- 
cation they had received. On the 9th of August the 
citizens attacked the belfry tower of the monastery, 
which stood close to the present Ethelbert gate, and 
from its proximity to the city liberties afforded a post 
of vantage from which the monks could harass and 
annoy the townsmen. Favoured by an accidental 
fire which broke out at the time, the townsmen got 
possession of the tower, slew thirteen of the defenders, 
and did serious damage to the monastic building?.: J 
The cathedral itself appears to have escaped injury,-^/ 


98 NORWICH. [a.D. I214- 

but the church of St Ethelbert, and, unhappily, the 
convent archives, with niuch else that was within 
reach of the flames, were destroyed. The catastrophe 
created a great sensation. The king came down to 
Norwich to institute a solemn inquiry, and the pope 
issued a bull upon the subject. At least thirty poor 
creatures were hanged and their bodies burned, and 
173 of the rioters, whose names have come down 
to us, were visited with various punishments, and 
their goods confiscated as a matter of course. But 
modern research has brought to light certain painful 
revelations which historic truth may not withhold. 
The prior was proved to have slain a man (John 
Casmus) at the gates of the priory on the i6th of 
August with his own hands, and for his part in the 
outbreak he was virtually deposed. Neither does 
the bishop come well out of the affair. Though 
appealed to by many people of influence to show 
mercy to the citizens, he sternly used his power to 
the utmost, and proceeded with passionate haste in 
taking vengeance upon the accused. In the whole 
business there is only one incident that relieves the 
general gloom. When the struggle was in its early 
stage, and before the prior had gone so far as to 
introduce his mercenaries into the close, the citizens 
made overtures of peace to the convent and pro- 
posed arbitration. The men chosen for peacemakers 
were certain friars whom one chronicler calls friars- 
preachers, but who may have been either Franciscans 
or Dominicans. Of their sincerity, impartiality, and 
" ^holiness of life it was assumed there could be no 
* 'question, and though the negotiations failed, it was 

A.D. 1 2 78.] KING henry's BISHOPS. 99 

evidently no fault of the friars, who did their best to 
pour oil on the troubled waters. 

Scarcely two months after he had been at Norwich 
Henry III. died at St. Edmund's Abbey. During 
his long reign no fewer than seven bishops had been 
appointed to this see. If they were not the best, 
neither were they the worst prelates of their time. 
Bishop Roger survived his royal master five years, 
and died at Elmham on the 22nd of January, 1278. 
The power of the pope in England had reached its 
culminating point before King Henry's death ; with 
the accession of the great Edward the re-action 
against papal usurpation began. 

H 2 

lOO NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 



When Henry III. died, in November, 1272, Prince 
Edward, the heir to the throne, had been absent two 
years from England, engaged in the hopeless attempt 
to wrest the Holy Land from the Saracens. Three 
months before the prince's departure, the primate, 
Boniface of Savoy, had died abroad, but, as the 
Papacy had been vacant for nearly two years, the 
see of Canterbury could not be filled up till the 
cardinals should fix upon a successor to the chair of 
St. Peter. They made up their differences at last, 
and elected Theobald of Placentia, who assumed the 
tiara on the ist of January, 1272, under the name of 
Gregory X. The new pope had spent some time 
in England in the retinue of the legate Ottobon, 
but at the time of his election he was attached to the 
staff, or household, of Prince Edward. After the 
usual disputes as to the choice of a successor to the 
archbishopric, the pope settled it in the usual way, 
by consecrating, — just six weeks before the death of 
Henry III., — his own nominee. This was Robert 
Kilwarby, an Englishman and a Dominican friar, a 
jnan of high reputation for learning, piety, and eamest- 
, .^ \ bess. Such a man was not likely to be content with 
^ \ ^-Ihe state of affairs which his predecessor had left 


behind him ; and, indeed, he appears to have had a 
desire to play the part of a reformer. 

Crippled and thwarted as the archbishops of Can- 
terbury were by the jealous antagonism of the monks 
of Christ Church and St. Augustine, to reform abuses 
was a very serious undertaking. If the archbishop 
was ever to effect anything, he must be ably and 
loyally supported by his archdeacon, on whom very 
much of the routine administration of the diocese 
necessarily fell. Unhappily, the archdeaconry of Can- 
terbury had been held for twenty years by an Italian, 
and, as a consequence, grave abuses had grown up 
and much injustice had been complained of So, 
too, the Court of Arches, — the highest ecclesiastical 
court in England, — had fallen into much disrepute. 
Men said it was a place of extortion, where the pro- 
cedure was cumbrous and costly, and causes were 
delayed vexatiously, or decided not upon their merits. 
The Court of Arches sorely needed reform. The 
new primate had a friend whom he trusted, one 
William de Middleton, who had studied law at 
Paris and Oxford, and had become celebrated as a 
preacher in an age when preachers were not rare. 
Not many months after the archbishop^s consecration 
we find William de Middleton appointed Dean of the 
Arches, and already attempting a change in the pro- 
cedure of the court ;^ three years after this he became 
Archdeacon of Canterbury,^ a vacancy having at last 

' Collier, ii., 574. It was not, however, till thirteen years 
after this that the real reform of the court was carried out hy 
Archbishop Winchelsey. — Wilkins, ii. , 205. 

' Gervase, ii., 282. 

t t t 

I02 NORWICH. [a.D. I278- 

occurred in what was then a very important and in- 
fluential office. He had held the archdeaconry just 
two years^ when the see of Norwich fell vacant, and, the 
licence having been speedily obtained from the king^ 
he was elected to the bishopric on the 24th February, 
and consecrated by his friend the primate on the 
29th May, 1278. It was almost the last public act 
of the archbishop in England. Shortly afterwards 
he was summoned to Rome, was made a cardinal, 
and resigned the archbishopric into other hands. 
As to the new bishop of Norwich, he ^derived his 
name from the village of Middleton, near Lynn, in 
Norfolk, where his forefathers had held land for some 
generations. The family had been rising in import- 
ance of late, and had acquired property in Wiching- 
ham, Rougham, and elsewhere in their native county. 
Four at least of the bishop's brothers benefited more 
or less by his advancement, and there is no reason 
to believe that they were unworthy of the preferment 
they received. Thomas became archdeacon of Suffolk; 
Elias was made seneschal, or steward, of the bishop's 
town of Lynn ; Ralph was promoted to the living 
of Burston, in the bishop's gift ; and Walter was 
standing counsel for St. Edmund's Abbey, and be- 
came the founder of a family who long retained their 
estates in the county of Norfolk.^ 

The six years which had elapsed since the great 
fray between the citizens of Norwich and the monks 

* He was succeeded in the archdeaconry by another Norfolk 
, man, Robert of Yarmouth. 

\ ^ Among the muniments at Rougham Hall the names of all 
/dur brothers occur, executing and*, attesting charters. 


of the priory had been spent in laying out large sums 
upon the monastic buildings and on Bishop Herbert's 
vast church, which, after two hundred years, needed 
repair, or, it is said, even completion. The time had 
come for reopening the cathedral, after the restora- 
tion, with an imposing ceremony ; accordingly, on 
Advent Sunday, 1278 (27th November), a magnificent 
religious pageantry was arranged, and the new bishop 
was enthroned. The king and queen were present, 
and the bishops of London, Hereford, and Water- 
ford,^ with a large number of the nobility, took part 
in the proceedings, and helped to increase the splen- 
dour of the occasion. This business over, the bishop 
next proceeded to hold a visitation of his diocese. 
We read that this was carried out with unusual strict- 
ness ; not only the secular, or parochial clergy, but 
the monasteries too were compelled to submit to 
inquiry, their privileges and immunities notwithstand- 
ing. Archbishop Kilwarby had been succeeded by a 
man of far more vigour and force of character in John 
Peckham, a Franciscan friar, who had lost no time 
in endeavouring to effect some trenchant reforms in 
the Church of England ;2 and Bishop Middleton's 
visitation must be taken as an indication of his 
willingness to co-operate zealously with the primate. 
It was during this same year, 1279, that the famous 
statute of Mortmain was passed, — a statute the object 
of which was to prevent the further acquisition of 

' Stephen Fulburn. He was Treasurer of Ireland in 1274, 
and subsequently Lord Chief Justice. In 1286 he became 
Archbishop of Tuara. 

• Stubbs, "Const. Hist.," ii., 112. 

I04 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

landed property by religious or other corporations,^ 
and which was acquiesced in by the nation at large, 
the more readily because of the immense influence 
already acquired by the mendicant orders who were 
opposed to religious endowments. 

Next year Archbishop Peckham himself made a 
visitation of the monasteries in the diocese of Nor- 
wich. He spent more than two months in this 
visitation, which was extraordinarily rigorous and 
searching;^ the result leaves a very favourable impres- 
sion upon us of the condition of the religious houses 
in Norfolk at the time. King Edward I. paid three 
visits to Norfolk in Bishop Middleton's days; it is 
not improbable that his presence in the county during 
the years 1281 and 1284 may have been occasioned 
by the frightful floods and consequent distress which 
fell upon the people during these years, and of which 
it is pleasant to find evidence in the rolls of the 
priory at Norwich, recording large distributions of 
corn to the poor at the time of the distress. But the 
most disastrous catastrophe, and far surpassing the 
two previous ones in the extent of the misery it occa- 
sioned, was the great flood of the year 1287, when 
hundreds were drowned by an incursion of the sea 
which extended from the Wash to the Irwell, and laid 
whole villages under water, — the calamity being most 
fatal in the districts of Marshland and the broads. 
It was while the county was still suffering from this 
terrible visitation that the great church at Yarmouth 
was consecrated, an event of sufficient public impor- 

» ** Select Charters," 448. 
* See note (C). 


tance to deserve mention in the chronicles of the 

Bishop MiDDLETON held the see of Norwich for just 
ten years, and died at his manor of Terling, in Essex, 
on the 31st August, 1288. He had but lately re- 
turned from Gascony, where he had been steward of 
the Royal Household, having been compelled to 
accompany the king when he left England, in May, 
1286. In his later years he was closely attached to 
the court, and thereby effectually prevented from 
being as active a bishop as, on his first appointment, 
he seemed likely to become. Possibly the king knew 
his man, and kept him at his own side. For the rest 
it is significant that we now first find in the Norwich 
Priory Rolls entries of payments to the poor scholars 
at Oxford, whom the convent now begins to support 
during their studies. The intellectual activity of the 
time had extended to East Anglia. 

Bishop MiDDLETON was buried in the Lady Chapel 
on Sunday, the 12th September,^ and that same day 
two of the Norwich monks set off to obtain from the 
king — then in Aragon — the necessary licence to pro- 
ceed to the election of a successor. By the 6th of 
November they were back again, and on the following 
Thursday, the nth, they had unanimously chosen 
Ralph de Walpole bishop of the see. 

The new bishop was the son of John Walpole of 
Houghton, in the county of Norfolk,^ where his family 

* Cotton's expression is, **.... in capella domini Norwy- 
censis Episcopi." His three predecessors were certainly buried 
in the Lady Chapel. 

* **Norf. Antiq, Miscell.," vol. i., p. 274. 

Io6 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

possessed a capital mansion, and where he himself 
held land. The Walpoles had been among the most 
powerful people in East Anglia for at least a century 
and a half, their estates lying chiefly in the fen country 
and the Isle of Ely. The bishop elect had himself 
been archdeacon of Ely since 1268, and during his 
tenure of that office he had for some reason rendered 
himself unpopular to his Norfolk and Suffolk rveigh- 
bours. There was deep discontent at his election, 
" and all with one consent cursed the whole convent, 
and especially the electors;"^ nevertheless, the king 
speedily confirmed the choice that had been made, 
and after the usual formalities had been complied 
with. Bishop Ralph was consecrated at Canterbury 
on Midlent Sunday, 28th March, 1289. 

The year before this, Jerome of Ascoli, — general of 
the Franciscans, —had been chosen pope, and had 
assumed the name of Nicholas IV. ; he was animated 
by a passionate desire to promote a new crusade and 
to unite Christendom in one more supreme effort to 
recover the Holy Sepulchre from the infidels. Some 
few men of eminence were roused to enthusiasm 
by the pontiff'^s burning zeal, but the main body of 
the English clergy were fully convinced that the day 
for crusades was passed. They did not like the pope's 
dream the better because they were most severely 
taxed to give, if possible, effect to it. Tenth after 
tenth was exacted from them; fresh imposts were 
laid upon them, and the collectors sent round the 
various dioceses showed no mercy to the poorest 
chaplain or the neediest parish priest. 

» Cotton, **De Rege Edwardo," p. 169. 


The money was handed over to the king, who took 
it readily enough, but showed no intention of taking 
the cross again. Matters did not improve when 
Nicholas IV. died, in April, 1292, and Archbishop 
Peckham in the following December. Once more, the 
cardinals contrived to keep the papacy vacant for two 
years and three months, and Edward I. was in no 
hurry to fill up the see of Canterbury. The Church 
of England was without a head, and the clergy with- 
out a champion. On the 4th of July, 1294, the king 
confiscated all the coin and treasure deposited in the 
sacristies of the monasteries and cathedral churches. 
The very next day the long interregnum in the papacy 
came to an end by the election of Pope Celestine V. ; 
but before the news could reach England the king 
had gone on to demand from the clergy half their 
incomes, and, monstrous as the requisition was, it was 
actually enforced.^ In the following September, 
Robert Winchelsey was consecrated archbishop of 
Canterbury, but things did not come to a crisis till 
two years later, when, in the Parliament assembled 
at Bury St. Edmunds, the archbishop firmly resisted 
any further concession, and ventured to brave the 
wrath of his sovereign. The clergy, as a body, were 
too much cowed and too impoverished to contemplate 
any open opposition, but a deputation was sent from 
the synod assembled at St. Paul's, on the 14th January, 
to expostulate with the king. Among the deputies 

* For the general history of these exactions, see Stubbs*s 
*' Const. Hist," ii., 126, 131, and 145. That the Priory of 
Norwich actually paid a half of all their revenues appears from 
Cotton, p. 256. Compare Gervase, ii., 306. 

I08 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

were the bishops of Norwich and the archdeacon of 
Norfolk, who appear to have been admitted to the 
royal presence at Castleacre, in Norfolk, between the 
20th January and the 2nd February ; they were treated 
with the utmost scorn, and sent home with the briefest 
answer.^ The king became more and more exaspe- 
rated, and with the increase of his embarrassments 
his violence increased beyond measure ; but in the 
end the ecclesiastical difficulty was settled by a com- 
promise — such as it was — only when the clergy had 
been pillaged to an extent which would be impossible 
for us to realise, and remains almost impossible to 

It is during the brief episcopate of Bishop Ralph 
that we first hear the voice of the East Anglian 
diocese speaking with authority in reply to certain 
interrogatories issued by Archbishop Peckham, in 
1 29 1, preparatory to the assembly of a Provincial 
Council on the subject of the projected Crusade.^ 
The replies sent in speak well for the general intelli- 
gence of the East Anglian clergy; and are characterised 
by marked courage, independence, and manliness of 

Bishop Ralph had presided over the see of 
Norwich just ten years when by one of those audacious 
fiats which in the history of the papacy are only too 
common, he was removed from the East Anglian 
diocese. The see of Ely had become vacant, the 

* Cotton, 318 et seq,; Gervase, ii., 314 et seq.; Edward I. 
was at Walsingliam on the 2nd of February; Hardy's 
''Syllabus," i., 856. 
. * Cotton, 206 et seq,; Wilkins, "Cone," ii., p. 287. 


monks made choice of their Prior John Salmon to 
succeed, though the king desired that his chancellor 
John Langton should be elected. When an appeal 
was made to Rome, the pope (Boniface VIII.) set 
aside both candidates, translated Bishop Ralph to 
Ely, and made John Salmon bishop of Norwich. 
It was a compromise which served to weaken the 
hands of the king of England and strengthen the 
influence of the pope of Rome, while it gave the least 
possible offence to the Ely convent. 

The new bishop was consecrated by Archbishop 
Winchelsey, at Canterbury, on the 5th of November, 
and early in the following month he was in his diocese. 
He did not show himself at Norwich till the beginning 
of January, and he seems very rarely to have resided 
there except for a few days at a time during his whole 
episcopate. For nearly six years he continued dis- 
charging his duties at home without any intermission 
and exhibiting a commendable activity in more ways 
than one. Towards the end of 1305 he disappears, 
leaving one Nicholas Whitchurch, a prebendary of 
Lincoln, as his vicar general. His absence may have 
been occasioned by his being sent on the king's 
business to Avignon ;i he was back again in Norwich, 
in May, 1307. Next month he was sworn of the 
king's council, and for the rest of his life he is more 
conspicuous for the part he played in civil than in 
ecclesiastical affairs. Indeed, from November, 1307, 
till August, 131 1, he was only twice in his diocese, 
for six months in 1308, and for a few weeks in 

» Stubbs's •* Const. Hist.," ii., 155. 

no. NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

1309.^ In 1320 he was made chancellor in the room 
of Hotham, bishop of Ely, and it was while returning 
from an embassy to France, in 1325, that he fell sick, 
and was carried to the Priory of Folkestone, where he 
died on the 6th of July, after presiding over the see 
of Norwich nearly twenty-six years. 

Bishop Salmon appears to have been a man of 
humble extraction, and had passed all his early life 
in the monastery of Ely. He was much given to 
building, as the great works carried out by him in 
the enlargement of the palace at Norwich showed. 
In his later years the cathedral cloisters were being 
worked at with much energy ; ^ but though he had 
been a monk and though it is said he presented 
many rich vestments to the priory, he was far less 
conspicuous as a spoiler of the parochial clergy than 
many of those bishops who preceded and followed 
him. One instance of his following the bad example 
set by others deserves to be recorded. He built a 
college for six. priests with a chapel attached and a 
crypt or charnel-house under it, and endowed it after 
the usual fashion by alienating the tithes . of one of 
the livings in his gift. The process was precisely 
similar to that with which we in our own time have 
become so familiar, whereby the endowment intended 
for supporting one object is applied to the carrying 
out of another. In the fourteenth century this was 
regarded as meritorious by some people, when only the 
secular or parochial clergy were despoiled for the benefit 

* He took a prominent part in the synod summoned at 
St. Paul's in December, 1309. — Wilkins, ii., 312, 314. 
' This appears from the entries in the Pitanciar's Rolls. 


of the Regulars ; we of the nineteenth century are 
less inclined to applaud it. Bishop Salmon's founda- 
tion has survived to our own times, though another 
alienation of the original endowment has changed 
his college of priests with their chapel and crypt into 
the Grammar school and Head-master's residence of 
the city of Norwich, the bishop's appropriation of the 
tithes still forming a portion of the endowment of the 

modernised foundation. 

* ♦ * * » 

When Bishop Salmon retired from the chancellor- 
ship in 1323 he was succeeded in that office by 
Robert Baldok, archdeacon of Middlesex, who had 
been connected with the chancery for many years. 
He had recently been disappointed of the see of 
Winchester, which the king had endeavoured to obtain 
for him from the pope; for he had thrown in his lot with 
the Despensers, who at this time were at the height of 
their power. When Edward II. was summoned to 
do homage for Gascony to Charles IV. of France, in 
1324, the plot for the destruction of the Despensers 
assumed a distinct shape. Bishop Stratford, who had 
secured for himself the bishopric of Winchester which 
Baldok had desired to have, was sent out as 
ambassador from the king to the court of France; 
with him went William Ayermin, another of those 
clerks of the chancery who knew so well how to 
make use of their opportunities to enrich themselves 
and who had already heaped one rich prebend upon 
another for his own advantage. The French embassy 
failed, the envoys having no interest in its success 
but the pope was at Avignon, and in his hands all 

112 NORWICH. [a.D. 1278- 

English preferment that was worth having now rested. 
Ayermin^s name was not unknown to the pope, who 
had more than once been solicited by the weak king 
to provide for him^ and it is pretty clear that he 
turned to account the occasion of his brief mission to 
the French court. In January, 1325, Bishop Salmon 
was sent over as envoy, and on the 7th of that month 
Ayermin was chosen to the vacant see of Carlisle. 
He received the temporalities of that bishopric on 
the 19th of February and presumably enjoyed them for 
some months. When the question of his consecra- 
tion came up the pope annulled the appointment. 
Just then Bishop Salmon died. Queen Isabella had 
deserted her husband and made common cause with 
his enemies ; Edward II. and the Despensers stood 
alone. Almost the only man of mark who was true 
to his king at this crisis was Baldok the chancellor ; 
as a matter of course, he received his reward and on 
the 2 1 St of July he was elected to succeed to the 
bishopric of Norwich, the king gladly giving his assent 
to his chancellor's election. Meanwhile Ayermin 
had been deprived of his bishopric, and was not the 
man to lose his chance of getting another. Indeed, 
it looks as if the pope in quashing his appointment 
to Carlisle had " provided " him with a better see. 
Bishop Salmon was evidently a dying man ; it was 
better for Ayermin to bide his time. Baldok, the 
chancellor, had scarcely been elected to the bishopric 
before he too was told that the pope could not 
allow him to be consecrated, and that in the lifetime 

» "Hist. MSS.," Fourth Report, p. 381. 


extent which, if the evidence were not overwhelming, 
would be incredible. 

Against this moral obliquity and coarseness of 
tone, the friars were still labouring in the towns, but 
they had already begun to deteriorate. St. Francis 
was right; the masses are to be dealt with only 
by men living among the masses. The friars, though 
true to their earlier vows, so far as to hold no real 
property, before the fourteenth century had begun, 
had already violated the spirit of those vows by in- 
creasing the size and convenience of their conven- 
tual buildings, by the magnificence of their churches, 
and, above all, by their splendid libraries. The Car- 
melites of Norfolk had a European reputation for 
learning. Young men of active intellect and studious 
habits, ambitious of making for themselves a name, 
attached themselves to the Mendicant orders, while 
the monasteries, and especially the houses of Augus- 
tinian canons, were the comfortable homes of younger 
sons of the gentry, living the kind of life which 
Fellows of Colleges lived at Cambridge or Oxford 
till quite recent times. The glimpses we get of the con- 
ventual life in the priories of Wymondham and Binham 
leave, on the whole, a favourable impression, and when 
we hear of disorders and irregularities elsewhere, as at 
the Premonstratensian Abbey of Wendling in 1345,^ 
it is only by finding that an inquiry has been insti- 
tuted with a view to correct the evils complained of. 
On the other hand, the exactions levied upon the 
less powerful religious houses were enormous, and 

* Carthew's **Launditch," i., 313. 


130 NORWICH. [a.D. 1356- 

the facility with which a prior or an abbess could get 
a convent into a condition of hopeless embarrassment 
was the cause of many a small foundation being in- 
corporated with a larger in some cases, as when the 
smaller priories of Massingham and Peterstone were 
absorbed by that of Westacre, or Wormegay by the 
canons of Pentney, while in other cases a convent 
ceased to exist, as the Nunnery of Lyng, or was 
actually sold, as the Benedictine Priory of Wyn- 
waloe was in 132 1. No surer proof could be adduced 
that the work of the monasteries was done when the 
friars came over to England, than is furnished by the 
fact that not a single instance occurs of any monastery 
of the old type having been set up in the diocese of 
Norwich after the reign of Henry III. Before the 
fourteenth century closed even the friaries had ceased 
to be founded, and the effect of the awakening of a 
new intellectual life had become apparent by the en- 
dowments of those colleges of which Rushworth 
College was one of the earliest examples. 

If the episcopate of Thomas Blundeville marks 
an epoch, because during his time the Mendicant 
orders first settled among us, not the less so does that 
of Thomas Percy, of whose administration we know 
so little. Young though he was when he was promoted 
to the see, he was already a graduate of Oxford, 
and therefore certainly no unlettered ecclesiastic. 
Bradwardine, the last of the great schoolmen whom 
Oxford could boast of, died of the Black Death 
in 1349. But Richard Fitzralph, archbishop of 
Armagh, was showing himself the uncompromising 
enemy of the Mendicants, and the fierce warfare 


between the Realists and the Nominalists was at its 

When Bishop Percy was consecrated at Lambeth, 
in January, 1356, John Wickliffe had been a leading 
teacher at Oxford for some years. The future bishop 
must have seen him often ; probably often had listened 
to him among the crowd of young enthusiasts who 
looked to him as the bringerin of new things. There 
is some reason to believe that Bishop Percy had no 
kindly feeling towards the monks on his first coming 
to the see, and it is significant that the earliest charter 
wherein his name occurs is one which has to do with 
the reunion of the two moieties into which the living 
of Eggemere had been divided in earlier times. In 
the sixth year of his episcopate, another terrible out- 
break of pestilence burst upon the country. This 
time East Anglia escaped with comparative immunity, 
and there is no evidence to show that there was any 
abnormal mortality among the clergy or laity. Out- 
side the diocese it was otherwise ; the upper classes 
especially suffered, and in a single year the bishops 
of London, Ely, Worcester, and St. David's, fell victims 
to the scourge. After the plague, came a mighty 
wind that blew, and the tremendous hurricane on 
St. Anthony's Day, January 17th, 1362, did not spare 
the cathedral ; the lofty belfry on the central tower 
succumbed to the fury of the gale, and came crashing 
down upon the roof of the choir. The young bishop 
lost no time in repairing the damage, and, after 
himself contributing largely, he imposed an income- 
tax of ninepence in the pound upon his clergy 
for the restoration of the mother church, and the 

K 2 

132 NORWICH. [a.D. 1356- 

glorious clerestory of the choir is the work of his 

Whatever else he may have been, he was no courtier; 
he seems to have remained quietly in his diocese, and 
never to have left it. In the domestic or foreign 
politics of the country he took no part. He died at 
his manor of Blofield on the 8th August, 1369, little 
more than thirty-five years of age. 

Chaucer and Gower were a few years his seniors. 
The author of "Piers Plowman's Vision," as it is called, 
mentions the hurricane of 1362 as of recent occur- 
rence. Sir John Mandeville, the traveller, survived 
him by two years. The year before he died, John 
Wickliffe had published his work on " Dominion," 
and was probably already issuing his translation of 
the Bible. The glory of King Edward had begun 
seriously to wane, and the Black Prince was stricken 
with the mortal disease which was so soon to bring 
him to his grave. 

When Bishop Percy died, the pope was once more 
in residence at Rome. For more than sixty years the 
supreme pontiffs had been kept away from Italy, and 
had held their court at Avignon. No successor of 
St. Peter had been seen in the eternal city since 
Benedict XI. left it on the 3rd April, 1304. The 
return of Urban V. in August, 1367, and the security 
which he enjoyed during his brief sojourn, were 
mainly due to the masterly generalship of two Eng- 
lishmen, Sir John Hawkwood, the great captain of 

* The stone vaulting of the clerestory was added about a 
century later by Bishop Goldwell, who substituted it for the 
timber roof of Bishop Percy. 


the age, and his scarcely less renowned colleague, 
Sir Henry le Despenser. Sir Henry was a younger 
son of Edward le Despenser, by Anne, daughter of 
Henry Lord Ferrers of Groby, and was descended 
from Joan, second daughter of King Edward I. By 
taste and education he was a soldier, and as a soldier 
he had acquired already a Europiean reputation. He 
was at the pope's side when the news of the vacancy 
in the see of Norwich reached Rome, and he had de- 
served well of the pontiff, who yet had little to reward 
his supporters with, except such Church preferment 
as it might be in his power to bestow. How the 
affair was managed we are not told,. but, on April 20th, 
1370, Henry le Despenser was consecrated at 
Rome bishop of Norwich, and on August 14th he 
received the temporalities of the see, being described 
in the pope's bull as canon of Salisbury. ^ I cannot 
find that he saw his diocese for two years after his 
appointment, though the institution books show that, 
when in residence, he was not remiss in the routine 
work of his office. His ordinations were usually 
carried on by one or another of the many bishops 
with outlandish titles ^ who were at this time 
visiting in England. These were frequently mem- 
bers of some religious house exempt from episcopal 
jurisdiction, which preferred to have a bishop of 
its own to hold ordinations and confirmations 

* It does not at all follow that he was therefore in Holy 
Orders. On the subject of laymen holding cathedral prefer- 
ment see a suggestive note in Cotton's ** Fast. Eccl. Hibem." 
vol. i., p. 10. 

« See note (C). 

134 NORWICH. [a.D. 1356- 

independently of the bishop of the diocese, whom, 
however, it was politic to assist upon occasion by 
acting as co-adjutor or suffragan, either during his 
absence or when indolence or indisposition kept him 
at home. 

Of Bishop Despenser, or of his diocese, we hear 
but little during the early years of his episcopate: 
one incidental notice, however, must not be passed 
over. In May, 137 1, Convocation agreed to a grant 
of ;^5 0,000 to be levied upon the clergy of the two 
provinces of Canterbury and York. From Bishop 
Despenser's certificate it appears that the diocese at 
this time contained an aggregate of 132 1 "parishes," 
806 in Norfolk and 515 in Suffolk, which were 
required to contribute on the whole no less than 
;^6,58o. The bishop is said to have been popular 
among the parochial clergy, but he was no friend of 
the Regulars, with whom he was more than once in 
serious conflict Godwin says, there was a dispute 
between him and the Norwich Priory which lasted for 
fifteen years, and in 1380 he embroiled himself with 
the great abbey of St. Alban's by claiming authority 
over the prior of Wymondham, whom he nominated 
as his collector for levying a royal subsidy. As usual 
the abbey gained the day. 

When the great agrarian rebellion of 1381 broke 
out. Bishop Despenser's soldierly training was once 
more called into exercise. The rebellion first began 
at Dartford, in Kent, on the 5 th of June ; on the 
13th the Kent and Essex men having united their 
forces were in possession of London, and next day 
they murdered the chancellor, the treasurer, and 


Simon Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury. On the 
15 th Wat Tyler was slain in Smithfield, and on that 
same day the SulTolk men began their excesses at 
Mildenhall under John Wrawe, and proceeded to 
murder Sir John Cavendish, chief justice of the 
King's Bench, the prior of St. Edmunds, and others of 
less note. In Norfolk the rebel leader was John 
Litester, a dyer of Norwich, who styled himself the 
"King of the Commons" and who seemed to be carrying 
all before him. On the 15 th the bishop was in 
residence at Norwich. The news of Tyler's death could 
hardly have reached Norfolk for a day or two, but 
messengers from Suffolk would be likely to bring their 
alarming tidings to the bishop's palace on the night 
after the tragedy. There was no time to be lost : 
Litester had planted a motley host somewhere near 
the town of North Walsham, fifteen or sixteen miles 
to the north of Norwich, and the peasantry were 
flocking into his camp in great numbers ; there was a 
danger lest the Norfolk and Suffolk men should form 
ajimction and co-operate to attack Norwich. The 
bishop rode off to the westward, a distance of nearly 
eighty miles as the crow flies, and reached one of his 
manor houses at Burleigh, near Stamford, where he 
hoped to raise a force. It is said that he started 
from Burleigh with no more than eight lances, but 
with them and a small band of archers he came upon 
a detachment of Suffolk rebels near Newmarket and 
fell upon them with terrible effect, took two of their 
leaders prisoners, slew them, fixed their heads upon 
spikes at Newmarket, and turning again to the north, 
and leaving the Suffolk insurgents to themselves, he 


that campaign and what came of it may be read 

In the council held in London in May, 1382, the 
bishop of Norwich took no part ; he never pretended 
to be a scholar or divine. Like most soldiers, he 
had no toleration for new-fangled notions, and he 
was conspicuous as a determined opponent of the 
Lollards. Let other bishops argue and discuss, hold 
synods, and indulge in controversy. Bishop Despenser 
would waste no time with heretics ; he knew his own 
mind, and — "be his name for ever blessed," says 
Walsingham — " he swore an oath, and never regretted 
it, that if any of that perverse sect of Lollards should 
presume to preach in his diocese he should be given 
to the fire or lose his head. However great the 
number of that faction," he adds, " never a one of 
them, knowing their man, was willing to hurry into • 
martyrdom, whence it came to pass that in his 
bishopric faith and religion remained inviolate." 

Nevertheless, it was in the diocese of Norwich, and 
in Bishop Despenser's days, that William Sawtre, — 
the first Englishman that suffered death for preaching 
heresy, — began to publish his opinions. He was a 
chaplain of the parish of St. Margarets, Lynn, and 
while officiating there he received a citation to appear 
before the bishop at Elmham on the ist May, 1399 ; 
here he renounced his errors in the bishop's chapel 
on the 25 th May, and next day publicly recanted at 
Lynn, and swore to preach such doctrines no more. 
About two years after this he again fell into trouble 
in the diocese of London. Probably, as was after- 
wards the case with Bilney, his conscience gave him 

138 NORWICH. [ajC; ^356- 

no rest for his previous weakness, and, having been 
put upon his trial as a relapsed heretic, he was 
degraded from his orders and condemned to be 
burned on the 26th of February, 1401. 

For more than thirty-six years did Bishop Despenser 
rule over his see, and he died at last, leaving no will 
behind him, on the 23rd August, 1406. " A man," 
says Walsingham, "who, as he was the most con- 
summate soldier of his time, so did he not forget the 
debt he owed to the pope." The pope could, and 
did, make him a bishop ; he could not, and did not 
wish to unmake the soldier. Posterity has given him 
the name by which he is known, — "The fighting 
bishop of Norwich." 

During this episcopate a serious dispute occurred 
between the bishop and the Norwich priory, which 
seems to have lasted some time. We are ignorant of 
the grounds of the quarrel, but there was an appeal to 
Rome, and the matter was settled at last, in 1396, 
by the award of Cardinal Cosmato Mighorati, the 
collector of the papal revenue in England, who 
eventually became Pope Innocent VI I.^ 

Much energy was shown towards the close of the 
fourteenth century in beautifying the cathedral, pro- 
bably in continuation or completion of the great 
undertakings begun in Bishop Percy's time ; and in 
the archives of Westminster Abbey there is still pre- 
served a bull of Pope Boniface IX. [a.d. 1399] 
granting an indulgence to all such as should con- 
tribute to the building of the mother church at 

» •* Fifth Hist. MSS. Reports," p. 450. 


The great schism in the papacy, which began in 
1378, was not an unmixed evil in the eyes of English 
statesmen desirous of resisting the aggressive policy 
of the Roman see ; but though the statute of Pro- 
visofs was re-enacted in 1390, and the still more 
trenchant statute of Praemunire in 1393, the weakness 
of the government of Richard II. and the intrigues 
of the political parties contrived to rob these enact- 
ments of much of their force. ^ It was not till 
Henry IV. became king, and then only for a very little 
while, that the election to English bishoprics became 
in any sense free from the dictation or control of 
the pope. For the first time for many a long day 
the monks of Norwich were allowed freely to choose 
a successor to Bishop Despenser, and once more 
they chose a monk — their own prior — Alexander of 
ToTTiNGTON, and, as his name indicates, a Norfolk 
man. A picturesque account of his election in 
the chapter-house has come down to us, and the 
unanimity with which he was welcomed by all classes, 
speaks highly for his blameless life and the high 
estimation in which he was held. He was coiise- 
crated at Gloucester 23rd October, 1407, and held 
the bishopric for less than six years, dying 28th April, 
1 41 3. We hear little more of him than that he spent 
large sums in repairing the bishop's houses at Nor- 
wich and elsewhere which had fallen into great decay. 
His successor was Richard Courtenay, of the family 
of the earls of Devon, and nephew of William 
Courtenay, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 

1 Stubbs's ** Const. Hist.,'* § 708. 

I40 NORWICH; [a.D. 1356- 

1396. His kinship to the primate soon brought him 
preferment,^ but something else besides high birth 
must have helped to make him four times chancellor 
of the University of Oxford in an age when such a 
position implied more than mere titular distinction. 
We know him to have been a man of many gifts, who 
was so constantly employed in offices of trust by 
Henry IV. and Henry V. that he never found time 
to be installed at Norwich, and left the palace, and, 
indeed, the entire administration of the diocese to 
John, the archbishop of Smyrna, of whom we have 
heard before. Bishop Courtenay held the bishopric 
of Norwich for two years and four days. During 
those two years the archbishop of Smyrna ordained 
at Norwich 128 subdeacons, 132 deacons, and 114 
priests, all whose names are to be found on the 
records. It seems to have been a peculiarity in the 
diocese of Norwich that, except in the cases where 
an applicant for holy orders had been presented with 
a living, every candidate gave the name of some 
religious house as his title for ordination, — on what 
theory I am unable to explain. 

* He became successively Dean of St. Asaph, Canon of York, 
and Dean of Wells. 




Since the time when Bishop Despenser had shown 
his terrible vigour against malcontents in Church or 
State, had drawn his sword against rebels in 1381, 
charged Litester at North Walsham, forced William 
Sawtre to recant his heresies at Elmham in 1399, and 
made John Edward abjure in 1405, there had been 
no persecution in the diocese of Norwich. Bishop 
ToTTiNGTON was lovcd and respected ; Bishop 
CouRTENAY was ncvcr in his diocese at all ; but the 
leaven of Wickliffe's doctrine, the leaven of LoUardism, 
had been working, and there was much murmuring 
and discontent. Among the masses there was a great 
deal of vague talk, which, if it meant anything, meant 
the preaching of communism and the spoliation of 
the rich ; while among the religious fanatics' the 
favourite teachers were those who denounced the 
clergy, and averred that some of the most sacred 
truths, which the Church had taught from the earliest 
times, were the inventions of men who had gone 
astray. The discontented, however different their 
grievances, made common cause, and the " party of 
order" in Church and State found it necessary to 
unite in resisting the forces arraigned against it. The 
I^ollards were a motley throng without organisation, 

142 NORWICH. [a.D. 1415- 

without leaders, and without any definite religious or 
political creed : their tenets were in the chaotic stage, 
or rather, they were a nebulous mass in which, whatever 
there was of light was the light of luminous vapour 
not yet fixed into form. It was only a question of 
time as to when the conflict between the classes in 
Church and State which had everything to lose and 
the classes which had everything to gain by revolu- 
tion should begin, and the time was at hand. 

Henry IV. died 20th March, 141 3. On the next 
day Archbishop Arundel was, from reasons of State, 
removed from the chancellorship, and he immediately 
laid a proposition before the Parliament to commence 
active proceedings against the Lollards. The result 
was that Sir John Oldcastle, a personal friend of 
Henry V., and who had commanded the Burgundian 
force in the combat before St. Cloud in 1411, was 
brought before the Archbishop on a charge of heresy 
on the 23rd September^ and condemned on the 25th. 
On being taken back to the Tower he made his 
escape, and for four years he managed to elude his 
persecutors, but he was caught and slaughtered at 
last.2 Meanwhile the Lollards were everywhere rest- 
less and angry, and more than one attempt was made 
to stir up the party to a general rising ; they failed 
signally, but the outlook in Church and State was 
disquieting. It was even said that one of the motives 
urging Henry V. to the war with France, was the hope 
of turning the thoughts of his people from domestic 
to foreign politics. 

^ Bishop CouRTENAY was consecrated at Windsor on the 17th. 
' He was hanged and bamed on the 14th December, 141 7. 


On the 24th July, 1415, the king made his will, 
appointing Bishop Courtenay one of his executors, 
and on the 14th August the English army landed at 
the mouth of the Seine. In September Harfleur was 
besieged ; and, while the army was encamped before 
the town, the bishop of Norwich, who was in the 
royal suite, fell sick and died on the 15th of the month, 
just a week before the place capitulated. The battle 
of Agincourt was fought on the 25th October, and on 
the 23rd November the king entered London in 
triumph. No time can have been lost in forwarding 
to the priory at Norwich the congi d'ilire for choosing 
a successor to Bishop Courtenay, for on the 25th 
November the king wrote to the pope to confirm the 
election of John Wakering, archdeacon of Canter- 
bury, to the Bishopric of Norwich. 

The new bishop was another of the great lawyers 
for whose services ecclesiastical preferment was re- 
served. As early as 1395 he had occupied an 
important position in the Chancery, and he had been 
Master of the Rolls from 1405 to this same year, 141 5. 
While filling that office he was also archdeacon of 
Canterbury, and was one of the most prominent 
personages in the kingdom. At the time of his 
election there was really no Pope,^ the three claimants 
of the Papal chair having all been in one way or 
another disposed of. The council of Constance, 

* John XXIII. was formally deposed by the council of Con- 
stance on May 29th, and Gregory XII. resigned on July 4th, 
1415. Benedict XIII, was deposed on July 26th, 1417, and 
Martin V. was elected on Nov. nth of the same year. Thus 
the schism in the Papacy came to an end. 

f44 NORWICH. [a.D. 1415- 

which had assembled on the 5th November, 14 14, 
was still sitting, and the Bishop of Norwich, after 
being consecrated at St. Paul's, on 31st May, 1416, 
was sent out two months afterwards as one of six 
English delegates to take part in the election of the 
new Pope, who was chosen accordingly on the nth 
November, 141 7, and assumed the name of Martin V. 
During Bishop Wakering's absence, the archbishop 
of Smyrna acted for him as his suffragan, and he, 
himself, does not appear to have shown himself to 
his diocese till the spring of 141 8, when he held an 
ordination in the chapel of the palace at Norwich on 
the 26th March. How soon he began to exercise 
severity against the Lollards must remain uncertain, 
the documents which Foxe refers to, and dresses up 
in his usual extravagant manner, having perished ; 
but that the bishop showed himself stern and uncom- 
promising to heretics can hardly be doubted, though 
none were actually put to death for their opinions. . 

Bishop Wakering died on the 9th of April, 1425, 
in the ninth year of his episcopate. Though he 
built a new chapter-house for the priory, and a 
cloister from the palace to the cathedral, not one 
stone of these edifices remains upon another.^ In the 
nine years that he was bishop 489 deacons and 504 
priests were ordained in the diocese, the larger 
number by his suffragans ; but no instance occurred 
of any ordination being held in the cathedral By the 
legislation of the previous reign a check had been given 
to the shameful appropriation of church property by 

* The site of the cloister is given in Harrod*s plan **Norf. 
Arch.** vol. vi., p. 27. 


the religious houses, and though already attempts had 
been made to evade the statutes, no further spoliation 
of country benefices had been effected, I think, in 
the diocese of Norwich. When Bishop Wakering, 
a year before his death, sent into the exchequer a 
certificate of the number of benefices in his diocese, 
which had been despoiled for the behalf of "poor 
nuns and hospitallers" alone, it appeared that they 
amounted to no less than sixty-five. These were, 
however, a very small number of the parishes which 
had been defrauded. How far the evil had gone 
before the common sense of the nation revolted 
against it may be inferred from the fact that, of the 
914 benefices now comprehended within the East 
Anglian diocese, 372 are vicarages, i.e., they had been 
plundered by the monastic bodies. 

I find one welcome indication of a liberal and 
kindly spirit having animated Bishop Wakering, in 
that on three occasions he presented villeins with 
their freedom. In his time, too, I meet with the first 
instance of a sufficient pension being granted to a 
clergyman on resigning his living, when no longer 
able, from blindness and old age, to do his duty.^ 

'When this bishop died, the condition of affairs in 
England had once more thrown power into the hands 
of the Pope, which he was not slow to use. The 
records of our history at this time are very defective, 
and it is sometimes difficult to trace the current of 
events. This, however, is certain, that the see of 
Norwich was vacant for more than a year, though one 

^ Adam Coket, rector of Lopham, who retired in 1424, 


146 NORWICH. [a.D. 1428- 

JOHN Haford — of whom I can discover nothing but 
his name — was formally translated by the Pope from 
the see of Worcester, in July, 1425. As, however, 
the same prelate had been translated to Lincoln in 
February, 1424, and yet was never in possession of 
that see, or of Worcester either, I infer that he was a 
candidate for preferment, whom the Council (which 
was now, in effect, governing the country for the 
child-king) were strong enough to refuse admitting to 
any English see. The Pope ^ave way, after a fashion ; 
he "provided" for the see of Norwich on the 27th 
February, 1426, appointing William Alnewick to 
succeed in the event of a vacancy. John Haford, 
it is to be supposed, went through the form of resig- 
nation, and the new bishop, having paid 2,700 golden 
florins in fees at the papal court, was consecrated at 
Canterbury, on the 18th of August. He had been 
a monk of St. Albans, and for a few months was 
prior of Wymondham. At the time of his promotion 
he was archdeacon of Salisbury, and had held other 

During the long vacancy the Lollards in East 
Anglia had a respite from any active persecution, 
and availed themselves of their opportunity with 
much persistent activity. During the first year of 
Bishop Alnewick's episcopate not much was to be 
done. The Pope had expressed strong displeasure 
against Archbishop Chichele, whom he believed to 
be in some way to blame for not bringing about the 
repeal of the Statute of Provisors ; and the quarrel 
between the Pope and Primate turned the attention 
of most churchmen from the sectaries ; but the feel- 


ing in high quarters against the Lollards was increas- 
ing in bitterness, and persecution was sure to begin 
when occasion should serve. There is a curious in- 
dication of the abhorrence with which orthodox 
persons regarded the new doctrines, in the course of 
an inquiry which was made, in the autumn of 1427, 
into the misconduct of Isabella Hermyte, prioress of 
the nunnery of Ridlingfield, in Suffolk, whose shame- 
ful doings had given occasion to great scandal in the 
neighbourhood, and led to formal charges being laid 
against her. On being brought to trial before the 
bishop's commissary, the wretched woman confessed 
her immorality, but one accusation she vehemently 
denied ; peculation, amounting to downright robbery 
she could not gainsay; adultery was brought too 
plainly home to her ; but the crime of Lollardy she 
repudiated with vehement protests. She was not so 
bad as that I 

It was not until the year after this that the persecu- 
tion of the Lollards began in earnest. The arch- 
bishop issued letters on the 20th of May, for the 
assembling of a council at St. Paul's Cathedral, to 
deliberate on the best and most stringent measures 
for utterly extirpating the new sect, and stamping out 
the prevalent heresies. The council met on the 5th July, 
and continued sitting till the 21st. So grievously had 
the Regulars by this time become dominant over the 
Seculars, so completely had the parish priests come 
to be regarded as " the inferior clergy," that, though 
from the diocese of Norwich no less than eighteen 
representatives of the religious houses were summoned 
to attend the council, the parochial clergy were re- 

L 2 

148 NORWICH. [a.D. 1428- 

presented by no more than two proctors. The effect 
of the council was soon felt, and the Lollards were 
ever3rwhere proceeded against. On the nth Septem- 
ber a diocesan synod was held in the chapel of the 
bishop's palace at Norwich, to adjudicate upon the 
case of one William White, a somewhat representative 
man, as a teacher of the new doctrines. Six years 
before (ist July, 1422), White had been cited before 
the convocation at St. Paul's, and had been censured 
for officiating in the parish church of Tenterden, in 
Kent, without a sufficient licence from the archbishop, 
and, further, for preaching and teaching heretical 
doctrine. He gave way under the pressure that was 
brought to bear upon him, abjured his peculiar tenets, 
and was allowed to go, on giving a solemn engage- 
ment to preach and teach no more. But his con- 
science would not allow him to rest, and he soon 
brought himself under grave suspicion ; he had made 
the diocese of Canterbury too hot to hold him, and 
he slipped away to Norfolk, where, in the absence of 
any bishop appointed to the see, he might hope for 
comparative safety. 

In the valley of the Waveney, just on the borders 
of the two counties, a remarkable religious move- 
ment had been going on for some time. The leaders 
were a small band of unbeneficed clergy, who 
were what we should now call the curates-in-charge 
of the parishes where they were living. At least 
nine of these parish priests were implicated, of 
whom the niost influential were, a certain Hugh Pie, 
of Loddon (apparently a graduate of one of the 
universities) who was looked upon as a kind of 


apostle, and one Bartholomew, of Earsham, who is 
spoken of as a monk whose influence in his immediate 
neighbourhood was paramount The whole district 
was in a ferment of religious excitement, and priests 
and people seemed to be of one mind. White, 
driven out of Kent, found safety and welcome here. 
Settling at Gillingham, a village on the Norfolk side 
of the Waveney, and scarcely a mile from the town 
of Beccles, which was the stronghold of the move- 
ment, he soon found warm friends and supporters. 
He cast off the clerical habit, allowed his hair to 
grow on the tonsure, and fearlessly took to himself 
a wife, to whom he was married, probably, by one of 
the priests who sympathised with him. He had been 
enjoying his security for about two years, when the 
storm burst upon him, and when the council met, in 
July, 1428, he was cited to appear, and answer for 
his relapse. Of course, he disregarded the citation, 
and was excommunicated for his contumacy, but 
his fate was sealed. The council adjourned on the 
2 1 St July, and Bishop Alnewick, who had taken 
part in it, returned to his own diocese. On the 13th 
September a provincial synod was held in the chapel 
of the palace at Norwich, and White was brought up 
for judgment, in chains. His condemnation followed, 
as a matter of course, and he was sentenced to be 
burned as a relapsed heretic, who had preached in 
the diocese of Norwich the errors which six years 
before he had renounced and abjured. The poor 
man appears to have shown some firmness and 
courage at the last ; but the horror inspired by his 
fete, which was then an almost unheard of novelty. 

150 NORWICH. [a.D. 1415- 

struck terror into the minds of his followers, and 
during the next three years, as the persecution went 
on, at least one hundred and twenty of the Norfolk 
and Suffolk Lollards abjured, and, though no more 
were brought to the stake, almost all were more or 
less troubled by the relentless bishop, and the Regu- 
lars, who were his great supporters. Some of these 
poor people were compelled to give up their English 
translation of the New Testament, some were con- 
demned to do public penance iti various ways ; some 
were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, one of 
them for life, in the monastery of Langley. If not 
convinced, they were, at any rate, silenced, and for a 
hundred years we hear of heresy in the diocese of 
Norwich no more. For once, persecution was 
effectual ; the time for toleration of error, much less 
for freedom of opinion, had not yet arrived. 

Bishop Alnewick had been just ten years bishop 
of Norwich when Pope Eugenius IV. translated him 
to the see of Lincoln, and appointed in his room 
Thomas Brown, who himself had a year ago been 
consecrated bishop of Rochester. The death of the 
great duke of Bedford just twelve months before had 
already made itself felt as a calamity to England. 
The king, not yet fifteen years of age, was still in the 
hands of his council, who were too much divided in 
their interests to watch very jealously over the royal 
prerogative, and the pope's nominee was accepted 
with hardly a protest. His episcopate was uneventful, 
except for a quarrel with the citizens of Norwich, and 
another dispute with the prior of the monastery. He 
seems to have passed the greater part of his time in 


his diocese, and he was the first bishop of whom it 
is recorded, in the archives of the see, that he held 
an ordination in the cathedral. This was when, 
on the 12 th April, 1438, he personally ordained 
seventeen deacons and nine priests.^ His favourite 
residence was at Hoxne — perhaps from its central 
situation — and it was here that he died on the 6th 
December, 1445.^ The next half of that dreary 
fifteenth century passed in the diocese of Norwich 
with a dull monotony, and there is nothing to record 
that is worth our while to dwell upon. 

At Bishop Brown's death it is said that Henry VI. 
wished to promote his own confessor, John Stanberv, 
a Carmelite friar, to succeed ; but the earl of Suffolk, 
who was then at the zenith of his power, and had 
recently received the thanks of both Houses of Parlia- 
ment for hi^ part in negotiating a peace with France, 
and bringing about the marriage of the young king, 
brushed the Carmelite aside, and managed to get 
Walter Lyhart appointed in his stead. He was a 
native of Cornwall, a distinguished Oxford graduate, 
a doctor of divinity, and provost of Oriel College. 
He had held many preferments, and besides being 

* The whole number ordained during his episcopate was 
495 deacons and 476 priests. The larger number of these were 
ordained by suffragans. 

• The bishops of Norwich seem to have placed the palace at 
Norwich at the disposal of their suffragans for at least the first 
seventy years of the fifteenth century. How much earlier and 
how much later they may have done so I am not in a position 
to say. After Bishop Salmon's time the palace was always too 
large for the Bishops of the See. Cf. Harrod, " Norf. Arch.,** 
vi.,33. ..- 

152 NORWICH. [a.D. 141 5- 

<:haplain to the earl of Suffolk, was confessor to 
Queen Margaret. He was consecrated at Lambeth 
•on the 26th February, 1446, and enthroned in the 
cathedral at Norwich on the 3rd April following. 
Contemporary with the luckless Bishop Pecock, who 
himself was a fellow of Oriel, he appears to have 
befriended that versatile but erratic man of genius as 
long as it was possible, as indeed his predecessor 
Bishop Alnewick did, after he had been translated 
to Lincoln, and Lyhart was one of those to whom 
Pecock sent a copy of his famous sermon at St. Paul's 
cross in 1447. It is said, indeed, that Pecock owed 
his promotion to the see of Chichester to the influence 
of Lyhart ; but as time went on it was no longer 
possible for him to support his early friend. When 
his old patron, the earl of Suffolk, was recommended 
by Henry VI. to leave England for five years, till the 
furious storm of unpopularity, which his enemies had 
raised against him, should peradventure subside, 
Lyhart was one of those who entered a protest 
against the judgment. How vain that protest was is 
well known. 

During the whole of Bishop Lyhart's time the 
condition of Norfolk, socially and morally, was all 
that it should not have been : if the clergy were not 
better than the laity, they could not possibly have 
been worse. The Paston letters reveal a state of 
anarchy and violence which would have been abso- 
lutely incredible, but for the unimpeachable evidence 
of those wonderful documents. Yet, in the midst of 
all this grossness and violence and corruption, the 
bishop was trying to keep up discipline among his 


clergy, visiting his diocese, and carrying on very ex- 
tensive archftectural improvements in the cathedral. 
A disastrous fire had occurred in the church in March, 
1463, which, it is presumed, destroyed the roof; for 
the bishop set himself to cover the nave with the 
splendid stone vaulting which remains as the glorious 
monument of his munificence. The changes effected 
in the appearance of the vast pile during the fifteenth 
century were very considerable. Bishop Alnewick 
began them by building the great west door, and 
doing away with the narrower and meaner Norman 
entrance, and by providing, in his will, for the con- 
struction of the huge west window, which, whatever 
its defects may be, certainly served to dispel the 
gloom which must have characterised Bishop 
Herbert's long nave. Bishop Lyhart's vaulted 
roof followed, and his successor in the see completed 
the vaulting of the choir. It is said that the stone 
roofs of the transepts were completed by the last 
bishop of Norwich who held the ancient barony and 
revenues of the see. Bishop Lyhart died on the 
24th May, 1472. His will has been preserved, and 
proves him to have been to the last the same munifi- 
cent prelate he was during life, — a friend and patron of 
scholars and learned men, lavish in his benefactions, 
and showing his love for Oxford, where he had been 
bred, and for Cambridge, too, which had claims upon 
his regard. 

His successor was James Goldwell, another 
Oxford man, educated at All Souls' College, but 
subsequently president of St. George's Hall in the 
same university. He became dean of Salisbury in 

154 NORWICH. [a.D. I415- 

1463. He had been sent on an embassy to Pope 
Sixtus V. about the time of Bishop Lyhart's death, 
and was consecrated at Rome on the 4th October, 
1472. Though he held his bishopric for more 
than twenty-six years, there are few bishops of the 
see of whose administration, or of whose personal 
history, so little is known. He died on the 
5th February, 1499, and was succeeded by Thomas 
Jane, archdeacon of Essex and canon of Windsor, 
who was consecrated in the following October, and 
died eleven months after. He paid the pope no less 
than 7,300 golden florins in fees on his appointment. 
Of him and his doings in the diocese there is 
nothing to tell. 

There is no chapter in English history so melan- 
choly as that which deals with the period embraced 
between the death of Henry V. and the battle of 
Bosworth. No sixty years of our annals contain 
such hideous records of ferocity and turbulence, of 
private warfare and violence, of vindictive murders 
and enormous lying. If there was not absolute 
anarchy in the time of Henry VI. it was only because 
the various orders clung together with a certain 
professional esprit de corps. Every man was, in some 
sense, a member of a faction, and looked to his fac- 
tion for such protection and support as it could afford. 
It looks as if during those miserable sixty years 
politicians, lawyers, and churchmen were trying the 
grotesque experiment of doing without one another. 
And^ yet in the midst of all the turmoil and blood- 
shed and sorrow, literature and learning were being 
cultivated with; no little enthusiasm, and art was by 


no means dead. Whatever may have been the case 
in other dioceses, it is certain that the bishops of 
Norwich during the fifteenth century were resident in 
their see, and that they were prominent personages 
as scholars and men of culture and learning. But 
the only course open to them was one of " masterly 
inaction " : all that could be hoped for was to keep 
things going and to hold themselves aloof from the 
fierce brawls of rival parties, between whom they 
might now and then arbitrate when both sides were 
exhausted by their fury. It is clear that the East 
Anglian bishops were men of peace, and that their 
influence was not inconsiderable in encouraging lite- 
rary tastes and studious habits among their clergy 
Pitts, in his list of distinguished Englishmen of letters 
who flourished during the latter half of the fifteenth 
century, mentions no less than twenty-four Norfolk 
men who were recognised as prominent scholars, 
controversialists, historians, or students of science. 
Their names, for the most part, have gone down into 
silence; but Lydgate, the monk of Bury, will not 
soon be forgotten ; and Walsingham, the historian, is 
still read ; and John Skelton, rector of Diss, in 
Norfolk, has found a laborious editor of his voluminous 
works in our own time. The printing-press had begun 
its mighty revolution, and one of the earliest speci- 
mens of Pynson's art was an edition of the works of 
John Tonney, an Augustinian friar at Norwich, who 
was renowned for his devotion to Greek literature at 
a time when the language of Hellas was known to 
very few. The wills of East Anglian clergy during 
this time make frequent mention of their books, and 

156 NORWICH. [a.D. 1415- 

the constant occurrence of the names of the country 
parsons as feoffees in the settlements of the estates of 
the landed gentry goes far to prove that they were 
respected and trusted by their people. 

On the whole, the impression left upon me by 
the examination of all the evidence that has come 
to hand is that the condition of the diocese of 
Norwich in the fifteenth century reflects credit upon 
the bishops of the see and the clergy over whom 
they ruled. 

The episcopate of Bishop Nix marks an epoch 
in our history. The long period of intestine warfare 
had come to an end. The nation had begun to 
profit by its repose ; the spirit of inquiry had been 
aroused in all classes; a wave of religious fervour 
had begun to roll over Europe, but no longer to be 
kept within the old banks. Intellectual life was to 
be noted everywhere; the printer and the school- 
master were abroad. The new bishop of Norwich was 
by no means the man to lead the onward movement, 
which it needed no great sagacity to perceive would 
run its course ; he was emphatically a man who had 
everything to gain by clinging not so much to what 
was good in the past as to the good things which the 
past had to offer him. He is the only bishop of 
Norwich on whose character even calumny has cast 
a slur, and we would fain hope that the bitterness 
and indignation which his cruelty and vindictiveness 
were calculated to arouse may have tempted some 
who abhorred those vices to invent charges of an- 
other kind which have never been supported by the 
shadow of evidence, or, indeed, ever been put for- 


ward in a form which would admit their being 

Richard Nix was a Somersetshire man, and a 
scholar of no mean pretention. He had graduated 
at Oxford, had thence passed over to Bavaria, where 
he had diligently studied law, and, as early as 1473, 
he had been admitted to holy orders, and was bene- 
ficed in the diocese of Sarum. 

Preferment came upon him thick and fast. In 1497 
he was promoted to a stall at Windsor, where one of 
his fellow-canons was Thomas Jane, his immediate 
predecessor in the bishopric. 

He was consecrated on the i8th April, 1501, and 
at once went down to his diocese. 

We hear very little about him or his doings for some 
years ; but it is evident that, in spite of all that had 
been done to keep down the sectaries, the fire was 
smouldering, and the bringers-in of new things and 
the declaimers against the established order were 
bestirring themselves in secret with much earnestness 
and activity. We must accept with exceeding caution 
the stiatements of John Foxe, when he tells us that 
Thomas Norrice was burnt on the 31st March, 1507; 
that Thomas Ayers, a priest of Norwich, was burnt 
at Eccles in 15 10; and Thomas Bingey burnt at 
Norwich in 1511. At the most, this burning can 
have been no more than brandings but it is quite 
clear that the bishop, thus early in his career, was 
making himself conspicuous by his hatred and severity 
against the innovators, lay or clerical, and was deter- 
mined to spare none. 

It was about ten years after this first display of 

158 NORWICH. [a.D, 1415- 

intolerance that a little band of Norfolk men in the 
university of Cambridge were becoming suspected 
for their dangerous opinions and their audacity in 
maintaining them. These were Thomas Arthur, 
fellow of St. John's ; Thomas Bilney, fellow of 
Trinity Hall ; John Lambert, fellow of Queen's ; and 
Robert Barnes, prior of the Augustinian friars. It 
must have been while they were still young at their 
studies that Tyndal, who was their senior by many years, 
removed from Oxford and settled at Cambridge, 
where he became famous for his knowledge of Greek 
and for something else besides. TyndaPs influence 
upon young men was that of a fervid enthusiast with 
wide s)anpathies and deep earnestness. We shall 
never know how widely it extended, for over this 
part of his life much obscurity rests ; but it is certain 
that John Frith, of King's College, was one of his 
converts, and almost as certain that the little clique 
of Norfolk graduates were his disciples. The most 
passionately zealous of them all was Bilney, who, 
gifted with great fluency, gave himself up to preach- 
ing, first in the diocese of Ely and then in that of 

About 1325 it seems that some serious steps were 
taken to break up this little society. P'rith removed 
to Oxford. Tyndal himself, the year before, had 
found it necessary to leave England and take up 
his residence on the Continent, where Lambert soon 
joined him and became chaplain to the English 
factory at Antwerp. Barnes, for a sermon preached on 
Christmas Eve, was thrown into prison, escaped, and 
took refuge in Germany, where he became intimate 


with most of the leading German reformers. Only 
Bilney and Arthur remained. Yes, there was one more, 
though he was in no way connected with Norfolk, — 
this was Hugh Latimer, then cross-bearer of the 
university of Cambridge, who in after years declared 
that he had been one of Bilney's converts, and who, 
at the time, was intimately associated with him in 
more ways than one. Latimer was still in residence 
at Cambridge, though deeply suspected, and not 
likely to escape the persecutors much longer. i 

Bilney and Arthur had sought a refuge nearer home. 
Bilney appears to have lived for some time as an 
itinerant preacher in the diocese of Norwich,* every- 
where creating a great sensation by reason of his pug- 
nacious aggressiveness, provoking violent opposition 
from those who were not prepared for the new 
doctrine. It was quite evident that the two Norfolk 
reformers would not long be tolerated : and accord- 
ingly on the 27th November, 1527, they were brought 
before Cardinal Wolsey and a large assemblage of 
bishops, lawyers, and divines, on a charge of heresy. 
On the 2nd December, Arthur recanted, and was 
ordered to do penance, and seems to have been con- 
fined at Walsingham, where he died obscurely in 
1532. Bilney, too, recanted, and was kept in prison 

' His submission made before Convocation, 20th March, 1532, 
may be read in Wilkins, iii., 747* 

* One valuable instance of the effect produced by Bilney may 
be found in the remarkable recantation extorted from Anthony 
Yaxley, Esq., of Rickenhall, Suffolk, before the bishop, at 
Hoxne, on the 27th of January, 1525, which is printed in the 
*' Eastern Counties Collectanea,** p. 42, 

l6o NORWICH. [a.D. 141 5- 

for a year, but was eventually released, and returned 
to Cambridge. A deep anguish of remorse took 
possession of him, and, after being haunted by pro- 
found melancholy for a year and a half, he could bear 
it no longer ; he turned his back upon Cambridge for 
ever, and returned to the old life, though he knew 
that he was a doomed man. On the 3rd March, 
1 53 1, he was apprehended in London, and sent down 
to Norwich, where, being cited before Dr. Pellys, 
Bishop Nix's chancellor, he was degraded from his 
orders, and condemned to death as a relapsed and 
obstinate heretic. On the 19th August he was burned 
at Norwich, more than atoning for his earlier weak- 
ness by the grand courage with which he met his end. 
Two years after this Bishop Nix himself got into 
trouble. He was very old, and blind, but he had 
amassed, it was said, enormous wealth, and on some 
frivolous pretence he was pronounced to have in- 
curred the penalties of a praemunire, and adjudged t(x 
pay a fine of ;^i 0,000. It is impossible to discover 
the ground of the charge, or indeed, in the conflict of 
statements that have been made regarding it, to be 
quite certain how the affair ended. He received a 
pardon from the king, but it was a very costly pardon, 
and evidently greatly crippled the old man's resources. 
Shortly after this, Cranmer, who was now Primate, 
instituted a visitation of the see of Norwich, by his 
commissary, in spite of the bishop's protest, and a 
fresh quarrel ensued; once more Bishop Nix was sub- 
jected to humiliation. He survived this last vexation 
just two years, long enough to hear, for he saw 
it not with his eyes, that Coverdale's translation of 


the Bible had been,published under royal patronage, 
and this, though he himself had spent his life in sup- 
pressing heretical books, had assisted Bishop Tunstal 
in buying up the first issue of TyndaFs New Testa- 
ment, hoping thereby to stop its dissemination, and 
had been the most diligent worrier of the secret 
hawkers of Protestant literature, which was, however, 
greedily bought up in his diocese. 

He died on the 14th January, 1536, and was- 
buried in his own cathedral. 

Three months before his death the first visitation 
of the monasteries began ; three months after it the 
Act for the dissolution of the smaller monasteries had 

The diocese of Norwich was no longer in com- 
munion with the see of Rome. 


l62 NORWICH. [a.d. IS30- 



On the 15th of January, 1532, an Act was passed in 
Parliament whereby the payment of annates, />., a 
year's income exacted from every clerical person on 
his preferment to a benefice, was forbidden to be 
paid any longer to the Pope as heretofore. 

This Act was the first serious threat on the part of 
King Henry VIII. that the rupture with the see of 
Rome was imminent. It was not ratified until the 
following July ; but inasmuch as the king had no wish 
to save the clergy from an impost from which an 
important revenue might be derived, it was further 
enacted on the 3rd November, 1534, that all those 
payments should in future be paid to the king and 
his heirs. Up to this time the clergy were rated 
upon the basis of Pope Nicholas's taxation [see p. 
91], but during the three centuries that had elapsed 
since that document had been drawn up, fresh en- 
dowments had been bestowed upon the religious 
orders and secular canons, and many rich founda- 
tions had sprung up exempt from those ecclesiastical 
burdens which the older endowments were required 
to bear. On the 30th January, 1535, a commission 
was issued by the king for drawing up a complete 
return of all the ecclesiastical, monastic, and colle- 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 1 63 

giate property in England and Wales. The return 
was to give the gross and the net income of every 
benefice, as well as of every abbey, priory, college, or 
chantry, and the commissioners were ordered to have 
their reports ready by the following June. These 
returns constitute that remarkable work known as the 
" Valor Ecclesiasticus," which gives, as far as it goes, 
an exhaustive account of the revenues of the Church 
of England and of the religious orders when the 
papal supremacy came to an end. It seems that, as 
a rule, the work of the commissioners was done 
within the time appointed, but the returns for a por- 
tion of the diocese of Norwich were not completed 
till the 5th October. A month before this date the 
fall of the monasteries had been determined on, 
Cromwell, the king's vicar-general, had, towards the 
end of September, sent forth a small army of common 
informers, armed with letters under the king's hand 
and signet, to report upon the condition of every 
religious house in the country, and to make out as 
bad a case as could be made ; the very names of 
these creatures have passed away, only about a dozen 
of them have been recovered ; history, as if in very 
shame, has refused to make mention of the rest. 

The reports sent in by these men have almost 
all perished, but among the few that have survived 
is one which professes to tell of the condition of the 
Norfolk monasteries. It is a paper which bears upon 
its every line the marks not only of falsehood, but 
of revolting grossness, on the part of those who could 
write it, and it is not conceivable that it could have 
been accepted as anything but a hideous invention 

M 2 

164 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

by those to whom it was handed in. It deals with 
twenty-one religious houses in the county, and is 
valuable as showing the character of the wretches 
whom Cromwell had in his pay, and whom he had 
no scruple in employing to serve his own ends. This 
report seems never to have been made any use of; 
it was evidently considered unsafe to take the next 
step on testimony so entirely worthless as that which 
these first visitors offered. 

Cromwell waited six months longer, and in April, 
1536, the Act of Parliament was passed for suppress- 
ing all those monasteries whose income did not 
amount to ;^2oo ; another commission was issued 
for carrying into effect the provisions of the Act and 
to despoil the smaller houses of all their property, 
whether lands, houses, or goods, handing it all 
over to the king to be dealt with according to his 
royal pleasure. The Commissioners appointed for the 
county of Norfolk were gentlemen of position and 
character, and here we are fortunate in possessing 
their report in extenso. It gives us the details of 
twenty-four religious houses, including five nunneries ; 
it enters minutely into matters of finance, and in 
all cases pronounces upon the character borne by the 
members of the several houses. 

The aggregate income of these smaller Norfolk 
houses is set down at ;^i,238. 5s. 4jd. The number 
of Religious of both sexes was seventy-five. The 
value of the lead, bells, vestments, and stock was 
^2,454. 9s. 2d. There can be no doubt that some 
of the monasteries had taken the alarm before the 
blow fell, and had made the most of their short time 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 165 

of respite. In five of these smaller houses, which in 
1534 had contained forty inmates, there were only 
sixteen when the Commissioners appeared ; and in 
one house — the Trinitarian priory of Ingham — the 
prior and six canons had sold their whole establish- 
ment, — lead, goods, cattle, and furniture, — and had 
dispersed none knew whither. The Commissioners 
report favourably of the moral condition and cha- 
racter of nineteen of these houses ; of four, and 
these the smallest, they say that the monks were of 
" slender " or of " slanderous name." All the nun- 
neries except one are very highly spoken of; the 
exception was the Cistercian nunnery at Marham, 
where a vicious abbess had let everything go to ruin, 
and had made her four sisters as bad as herself; the 
house, we are told, was " in sore decay." Of one 
house — that of the Augustinian canons of Pentney — 
the Commissioners cannot speak too highly; they 
were evidently the objects of love and reverence to 
all their neighbours. 

Before winter was over all these smaller houses had 
been dismantled and their inhabitants sent adrift; 
the first step in spoliation had been taken, but not 
the last. In four years from the time that the first 
commission was issued, in April, 1536, not a monas- 
tery was left in England, great or small.^ 

On the 6th April, 1539, Bishop Herbert's great 
monastery at Norwich was dissolved, just four hundred 
and twenty years after the founder's death ; and, by 
a sweep of the pen, the monks were changed into 

' One of the last to fall was the Cluniac Priory of Thetford, 
which was suppressed on the i6th of February, 1540. 

l66 NORWICH. [a.D. T536- 

prebendaries or secular canons, and the last prior, 
William Castleton, became the first dean of the 
cathedral church. Fifteen months after this, on the 
28th July, 1540, Cromwell, whose work of destruction 
was done and for whom his master had no further 
need, suffered on the scaffold, almost with his dying 
breath shrieking for mercy and finding just as much 
and no more as he himself had ever shown.^ The 
suppression of the monasteries was not carried out in 
East Anglia without deep discontent and at least one 
futile attempt at a rebellion. The inhabitants of 
Walsingham, who lived on the pilgrims constantly 
visiting the famous shrine, found themselves suddenly 
reduced to beggary ; want made them mutinous, but 
at the same time rendered them powerless : the riot 
was soon put down. The story of all the misery, 
the amazement, perplexity, and despair which the 
suppression of the religious houses caused throughout 
the diocese of Norwich during those terrible four 
years has never been attempted and it may be doubted 
whether it could be told. 

I estimate the number of the "religious" of both, 
sexes in the diocese of Norwich when the suppression 
was first thought of at a little short of three hundred. 
This does not include the friars nor those seculars 
who were members of collegiate bodies, and whose 

I By his attainder all the lands which he had held on the 
last day of March, 1539, were forfeited to the Crown. The 
manor, palace, park, rectory, and advowson of the vicarage of 
North Elmham (part of the estate of the bishopric of Norwich), 
was saved to his descendants by a fortunate deed of feoffment 
executed in 1538. 


time had not yet come. For arriving at the numbers 
of the friars we have no sufficient data, but taking 
into account the number of their houses in the large 
towns of East Anglia, we can hardly estimate them 
at less than that of all the other orders. 

When we try to calculate the value of the endow- 
ments of our Eastern monasteries we are face to face 
with a very difficult problem. The comparative value 
of money at various periods of our history seems to 
be indeterminable. At any rate, those who have 
dogmatised most upon the question have confused it 
most hopelessly. This, however, we do know, that 
taking the twenty-five livings in the diocese, whose 
gross income is now set down at upwards of ;^i,ooo 
a year; we find that their aggregate income as 
returned in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1534 makes 
up a grand total of ^^289. 4s. yd., which was barely 
nine-tenths of the annual income of the priory of 
Castleacre, less than half that of the Abbey of 
St. Benet's Hulm, less than a third of the income of 
Bishop Losinga's foundation at Norwich, and only 
a little more than a sixth of the revenue of the 
mighty Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. Without 
entering into calculations which our space forbids us 
from laying before the reader, it may safely be said 
that at the time of the dissolution the value of the 
real property held by the regulars in Norwich diocese 
(exclusive of their houses and goods) cannot be 
estimated at less than three times that of all the 
beneficed clergy put together. 

Bishop Nix, as has been said, died 14th January, 
153.6. The king held his hand before appointing a 

1 68 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

successor, nay ! he did more : on the 19th March two 
suffragan bishops were consecrated at Canterbury, 
Thomas Manning, prior of Butley, was nominated 
bishop of Ipswich ; John Salisbury, prior of Horsham 
St. Faiths, became titular bishop of Thetford. It looks 
as if it had been determined to abolish the bishopric 
of Norwich altogether. In effect, the see was 
stripped absolutely bare before any fresh appointment 
was made, and by an Act of Parliament which had 
been passed in February the ancient revenues were 
actually confiscated and the possessions of the priory 
of Hickling and the barony and revenues of the 
mitred abbey of St. Benet's Hulm were bestowed as 
a new endowment upon the plundered see. The 
Abbey of Hulm is the single religious house in the 
kingdom which has to this day never been dissolved. 
Its abbot at this time was one William Rugo, a 
base and truculent time-server, prepared to lend 
himself to any measure, however infamous, which the 
king and his cteatures might order to be carried out. 
He was consecrated bishop of the see on the 28th 
June, and from the day of his appointment he set 
himself to make all he could of whatever was saleable, 
even to the extent of trying to alienate the very palace 
at Norwich. Men murmured and blushed, but it was 
all in vain, — the frown of the king meant death, and 
none dared raise his voice. 

King Henry died at last on the 28th of January, 
1547. Two years afterwards Bishop Rugg was 
induced to resign, he could be borne with no longer. 
During the remaining years of the reign of Edward 
VI. Thomas Thirlby, the first and last bishop of 


Westminster, to which he was consecrated in 1540, 
presided over the see of Norwich : a graceful, courtly 
prelate, who like many another had given up all for 
lost, and in view of the Gordian knots which earnest 
men were trying desperately to unravel he showed 

Unskill'd to sunder and too weak to cleave. 

The terrible oligarchy under Edward VI. followed 
closely on the lines laid down by Henry VIII. 
There still remained twenty-two colleges of secular 
canons in the diocese and seventy-four hospitals and 
lazar houses with no inconsiderable endowments, 
and there were 138 chantries or what may be called 
chapels of ease, which remained to pillage. Pillaged 
they were ruthlessly. ^ 

There were nine hundred guilds, one or more in 
every parish, with funds that really belonged to the 
poorest people, and which were kept up, in great 
measure, by the constant stream of small benefactions 
contributed by the prosperous and wealthy. They 
were all dissolved, the frightened artisans and labourers 
being compelled not only to surrender their money, 
but even the very drinking-bowls and the trumpery 
furniture which were the pride of these benefit clubs 
and which their humble forefathers had left for the 
use of those who should come after. At last the 
churches in towns and villages were plundered of 
everything they contained to the bare walls, and when 

' Among the richest of all the colleges in England was the 
college of Stoke, in Suffolk, whose last dean was Matthew 
Parker, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. 

170 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

it had come to this the boy king died, and his sister 
succeeded to the throne on the 6th July, 1553. 

For six years a wild scramble had been going on, . 
and in the East Anglian diocese there had been 
almost complete anarchy. The diocesan registers 
are full of such entries as had never been made before, 
and which record how one advowson after another 
was bought and sold. Well might the clergy in con- 
vocation lift up their voices, though in vain, against 
the Simoniacs.^ 

Events had followed one another so rapidly, the 
changes — ordained by law, or proclamation — in doc- 
trine and ritual, had been so violent, that no one knew 
what he might not be called upon to believe or 
subscribe to from day to day, and side by side with 
the fiercest intolerance the utmost licence of opinion 

The first sign of a clergyman joining the reforming 
party was that he took to himself a wife. Bishop 
RuGG tried vainly to hunt down the married priests ; 
Bishop Thirlby let them alone. But no sooner was 
Queen Mary firmly seated on the throne than the 
bishop of Norwich was compelled to bestir himself. 
It was Wyatt's rebellion that first aroused in Queen 
Mary the ferocity she had inherited from her father. 
At the beginning of March, 1554, — while London 
was reeking like the shambles with the dangling 
corpses of the victims of that mad outbreak, and 
the queen was watching in a fever of excitement for 
her Spanish bridegroom, — articles were sent down to 

* Wilkins, vol. iii., p. 860. 

A.D. l63S-] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 171 

the bishop of Norwich to look to the state of his 
diocese and to tighten the reins of discipline. It 
was known that East Anglia swarmed with married 
clergy ; the time had come when they must be dis- 
possessed of their cures, and dispossessed they were. 

Bishop Thirlby was translated to the see of Ely 
in September, 1554, and his successor was John 
HoPTON, Queen Mary's Confessor, who in old days 
had been prior of the Dominican Friars at Oxford. 

In the year ending ist April, 1555, no fewer than 
371 institutions are registered, of which only 43 
were occasioned by the death of the previous incum- 
bents; 168 are expressly said to have been caused 
by deprivation; 28 incumbents resigned; in 130 
instances the cause of the vacancy is not stated ; in 
upwards of 200 cases a pension is assigned to the 
ejected parson, though the amount is in no case 
specified. So complete a transformation of the diocese 
had been known only once before, when the Black 
Death swept over the land. 

The deplorable confusion of the last fifteen years 
had made the people sick of all the changes, and 
when the Mass was restored in the churches it 
was welcomed by the multitude with enthusiasm. 
Speedily, however, the tide of opinion turned again ; 
the ejected married priests were to a man, pledged to 
do battle for the new learning. Driven out of house 
and home, they were not likely to love the doctrines 
of those who supplanted them, and when the new 
bishop and his far more savage and merciless chan- 

* The articles may be seen in extenso in Heylin's **Hist. 
Reform,,'' p. 105. 


172 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

cellor proceeded to burn poor men and women at 

the stake for heresy, and up and down the diocese 

persecution raged horribly, the Gospellers increased 

in number and earnestness, as a matter of course, 

till when Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole died on 

the same day (17th November, 1558) it was time for 

her former confessor to turn his face to the wall.^ 

Bishop HoPTON survived his royal mistress scarcely ^ 

six months. For four miserable years he was bishop 

of Norwich : to him as to others they were years 

of bitterness and disappointment, years spent in 

the vain endeavour to turn back the great current of 


On the 29th June, 1559, the dean and chapter 
of Norwich elected Richard Cox to the vacant 
bishopric ; he was, however, sent to Ely, and John 
Parkhurst was appointed to Norwich, and was 
consecrated by Archbishop Parker, ist September, 

Bishop Parkhurst was one of those characters 
in whom the good and the bad lie very close side by 
side. A Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, he had 
been a popular and amusing person, very much given 
to writing epigrams not always characterised by strict 
regard to propriety of expression, insomuch that in 
his later life he was not spared by the critics, who 
censured him for republishing his " Juvenilia." While 
at Oxford he had Jewel as his pupil, and the loyal 
affection of the younger man to his tutor continued 

* Twenty bishops were consecrated during Mary's short reign. 
Eight of them died before its close ; seven of the eight within 
six months of the queen. 


through life. Ordained in 1532, he was presented 
to the living of Bishop Cleeve, in Gloucestershire, 
and very soon after coming into residence he married 
Margaret, daughter of Thomas Garnish, of Kenton, 
Suffolk, and so became allied to one of the leading 
families in that county. He seems to have had no 
children. On the accession of Queen Mary, he fled 
to Switzerland, whither his wife followed him, and I 
am inclined to think she must have died before the 
turn of his fortunes came, for we hear of her no 

The condition of his diocese when he came to 
it was deplorable beyond description. The bishop 
was clearly a man of expensive habits, and not too 
high-minded. Money he must have, and while the 
hideous venality of the times needed to be resisted 
and rebuked by a prelate at once frugal and austere, 
Bishop Parkhurst showed a bad example in making 
merchandise of the Church of God. A vile system 
had grown up whereby lay patrons not only sold their 
patronage openly, but as openly exacted from the 
incumbents an annual pension from the benefice, 
which was a first charge upon the income, and in 
many instances the bargain was a ruinous one to the 
wretched parson. The result was, that in 1562 more 
than half the parish churches in the diocese were 
found to be vacant, and everywhere a serious decline 
in the number of candidates for holy orders was 
observable. Then came the large immigration of 
foreigners into Norwich, driven out by Alva's perse- 
cution in the Low Countries, and all those disorders 
and irregularities which ensued as at once the cause 

174 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

and the consequence of the decay of all sound disci- 
pline. The sectaries were loud and aggressive, the 
bishop never interfering with them unless when com- 
pelled. Archbishop Parker tried hard to bring things 
to a better state, but found himself thwarted and all 
but powerless. 

It was in Bishop Parkhurst's time that those pro- 
phesyings began in the diocese of Norwich which 
were the occasion of much unseemly altercation 
among the clergy, who were hardly yet ready for open 
discussion upon the interpretation of Holy Scripture 
and for the exercise of their gifts of extempore prayer. 
The disorders got to such a height that the prophe- 
syings were put down ; repression being the order 
of the day. Yet pent-up passion broke forth in one 
direction when it was restrained in another, and the 
canons of the cathedral showed an evil example ; — 
now by their negligence and non-residence; now by 
their outrageous riot in 1570, when, with the exception 
of the dean, who was absent, and Dr. Gardiner, who 
prudently kept out of the way, the whole chapter, 
down to the lay clerks, behaved like an infuriated 

It was a dark age for the diocese, though worse 
days were coming. Bishop Parkhurst died on the 
2nd February, 1575, in the fourteenth year of his 
episcopate, — an episcopate during which clergy and 
laity were left to do almost as they pleased, while the 
bishop kept open house in a lavish way sometimes at 
the palace of Norwich, and, latterly, at his house at 
Ludham, ^-a genial, scholarly, pliant, hospitable 
gentleman, but little more. 

A.D. l63S»] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 175 

Edmund Freake who succeeded Bishop Park- 
hurst had been an Augustinian canon in the abbey 
of Waltham in King Henr/s days, and was pensioned 
off when that monastery was dissolved. After 
receiving many lesser preferments, he was consecrated 
to the see of Rochester in 1572, and thence was 
translated to Norwich in November, 1575. When 
in 1579 the queen, Elizabeth, and her ministers had 
formed a design for plundering the see of Ely, over- 
tures were made to Bishop Freake to assist in the 
iniquitous attempt. He firmly refused, and continued 
for five years longer where he was; but in 1584 he 
was transferred to Worcester, and Edmund Scambler 
was removed from the see of Peterborough to 
Norwich. Notorious as a shameless spoiler in a 
generation of shameless spoilers, his name is chiefly 
remembered for his outrageous pillage of the bishopric 
of Peterborough and for his impudent complaint of 
the wrongs done to himself through the greed of his 
predecessor. Bishop Freake. He was bishop ten 
years, and was followed by William Redman, arch- 
deacon of Canterbury, whose episcopate lasted till 
September, 1602, when he was succeeded by John 
Jegon, who had been promoted to the deanery the 
year before : he was consecrated on the 20th February, 
1603, — the last of those Elizabethan prelates whom 
it is impossible to think of with veneration. The 
truth is, no one of them was strong enough to rise 
superior to the spirit of his time. The mastery of 
the queen over church and state, and the energy 
of her ministers, on whose extraordinary ability and 
unscrupulous loyalty she could rely, made her 

176 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

supremacy in ecclesiastical matters hardly less real or 
less galling than that of her father. The ecclesiastics 
of her time, and especially during the latter half of 
her reign, truckled and obeyed. 

It was scarcely to be wondered at. The see of 
Durham was kept vacant for two years ; Salisbury for 
three ; Chichester for four ; Bath and Wells for five ; 
Bristol and Gloucester each for six; Ely for eighteen; 
and, worst of all, Oxford for three periods of nine, 
twenty-one, and eleven years. The prelates felt that 
they were bishops during the Queen's pleasure, and 
that their strength was to sit still. Bishop Freake 
drew up a scheme which, if it had ever taken effect, 
would have divided up the diocese of Norwich into 
a number of districts wherein the rural deans would 
have been able to exercise great moral influence, 
and, by co-operation and communication with the 
bishop, great power for good also ; but the scheme 
remained a dead letter. Independent action on the 
part of the prelacy, indeed all such action as might 
tend to strengthen their hands, was paralysed. Mean- 
while, the insolence and furious language of the 
sectaries knew no bounds. When the persecution 
of Alva had driven thousands of the weavers from 
the Low Countries to take refuge in Norwich, where 
they were most generously received and harboured, 
and places of worship were assigned them where they 
might use their own ritual, disorder increased still 
more. If foreigners might do as they pleased, why 
not Englishmen? Soon, too, the Brownists spread, 
their eccentric leader settling in Norfolk for a while 
and finding favour. Moreover, East Anglia was the 


A.D. l635-] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 1 77 

Stronghold of the Family of Love, and David George's 
mystic writings were handed about and translated 
from their native Dutch into the vernacular, their 
unintelligible jargon constituting their charm. 

When, in 1570, the queen was formally excom- 
municated by the Pope, new troubles began. Up to 
that time it can hardly be said that there was any 
organised Romish party in East Anglia : the excom- 
munication created it. The penal laws that were 
passed against the Recusants^ /.<f., those who refused 
to attend the parish churches, forced the conscientious 
Romanists to declare themselves, and from this time 
till the close of the century there was neither peace 
nor security fof life or substance to those who showed 
any reluctance to conform. 

How the gentry suffered and were persecuted I 
have told elsewhere. Whether or not it could have 
been avoided, taking into account all the circum- 
stances of the time, this is not the place to decide. 

This only is certain, that during those forty-five 
years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. East Anglia passed 
through such a period oT turbulence, bitterness of 
feeling, and decay of Christian charity, — such a period 
of neglect of the decencies of religion and of the 
houses of God in the land, as the diocese had never 
known since the days when private warfare was the 
rule and there was no king in Israel, — a period such 
as we may well pray the Church's divine Head to 
avert from us for the time to come, even though the 
promise stand, " I am with you always, even to the 
end of the world." 

And yet one reflection is forced upon the thoughtful 


178 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

student more and more as his knowledge of the 

Elizabethan age in the diocese of Norwich grows 

deeper and wider, and it is this : — 

The Master's promise has been found true in the 

darkest hour. Nay, it is in the darkest hour that its 

truth has been most surely manifest. We have lived 

through pillage and persecution, indifference and 

neglect; we have lived through days when all seemed 

going, and well nigh gone : yet, from the desolation 

and the ruin, the Church has risen again and again 

to new life and activity. Shall we tremble for the 

future when we can point to the history of the 

past ? 

* ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ . 

John Jegon was consecrated at Lambeth on the 
20th February, 1603. A month after his consecra- 
tion Queen Elizabeth died and James VI., king of 
Scotland, became James I., king of England. Under 
the able administration of Archbishop Whitgift, to 
whom the Church of England owes a far greater debt 
than has generally been acknowledged, much had 
been done to reform abuses and to restore discipline ; 
to the end he was labouring cautiously and wisely^ 
but he had a very hard game to play, and during the 
last year of his primacy, which was the first year of 
King James, he needed all his prudence and sagacity 
in face of the new difficulties that the accession of 
the king of Scotland had introduced. 

Our space forbids us from dwelling upon these, 
but the diocese of Norwich affords some valuable 
illustrations of the condition of ecclesiastical affairs 
durinjg the first quarter of the seventeenth century, 


A.D. l635-] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 1 79 

which may be accepted as fairly typical of what was 
going on generally in the country. 

At the time of Bishop Jegon's receiving the appoint- 
ment to the bishopric he was dean of Norwich. One 
of the first appointments which the king made was 
that of George Montgomery to the vacant deanery. 
Dr. Montgomery was a Scotchman and brother of 
Viscount Montgomery, in the peerage of Scotland. 
Dr. Montgomery was duly installed 7th June, 1603 ; 
but as it was shrewdly suspected that his preferment 
would not end at this point, Dr. Edmund Suckling, 
one of the prebends of the cathedral, obtained for 
himself, on the 27 th April, 1604, a grant of the 
reversion of the deanery at the next avoidance. 
Next year Dean Montgomery was promoted to three 
bishoprics in Ireland,^ and forthwith took up his 
residence in that country — though still retaining his 
deanery, — and rarely, if ever, showed himself in 
Norwich, except upon audit days to receive • his 
dividends. This went on for ten years, until at last 
he,— having in the meantime resigned Derry and 
Raphoe, and taken to himself the bishopric of 
Meath in their stead, — was induced to resign his 
deanery of Norwich on being indemnified for his loss 
of income. Meanwhile Bishop Jegon had made his 
brother Thomas, who was master of Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, archdeacon of Norwich in 
September, 1604, and six months afterwards had 
managed to get for him the second stall in the 
cathedral, having induced its previous occupant to 

* Derry, Raphoe, and Clogher. 
N 2 

l8o NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

resign. The first stall was held by Dr. Lawrence 
Staunton, who had been made dean of* Lincoln in 
.1601, and held his Norwich canonry in commendam 
till his death in 16 13. Dr. Suckling seems actually 
to have been the only member of the chapter who 
even pretended to reside, and the cathedral close was 
a vast heap of ruins. As early as 1535 Bishop Nix 
had granted to the Corporation a lease for eighty-nine 
years of the great hall, buttery, pantry, and kitchen 
belonging to the palace at Norwich. The Lady Chapel 
" with the walls and all other appurtenances," had been 
demised for a period of sixty-three years at a rent of 2 s. 
to Dean Salisbury and his wife in 1569. In 1570, 
the Chapter House had already become " a parcel of 
void ground late builded on." The old library of 
the monastery had been taken down in 1574. In 
1 6 14, there were alehouses, which were felt to be 
not only a scandal but a nuisance, almost abutting on 
the cathedral walls. At the archdeacon's visitation 
in 1609, it appeared that six churches in Norwich 
were not even furnished with a surplice, two had no 
<:up for the communion, one had no linen cloth for 
the table ; and yet side by side with this sloven- 
liness, the churches of St. Peters Mancroft and St. 
Giles were admirably provided with ornaments^ and 
the former church seems to have been decorated at 
certain seasons at the expense of the parishioners. 

In the country parishes, on the other hand, where 
the gentry were recusants, deeply disaffected to the 
established order of things, and sufficiently powerful, 
church after church was actually dismantled and, as 
the term was, ruinated; while everywhere the buildings j 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 181 

were falling into decay, and the windows were left 
unglazed when, from mischief or accident, they 
had been broken. Meanwhile, though Archbishop 
Whitgift had tried hard to reform the vexations and 
annoyances which resulted from the odious revival 
of the petty courts of archdeacons and commissaries,^ 
the abuse still went on, and in the archdeaconry of 
Norwich, certainly as late as 1620, the frequency with 
which churchwardens and others were cited and 
worried must have had no small share in aggravating 
the feeling of soreness against ecclesiastical dignitaries 
which at last broke out into open rebellion. Yet, 
strange to say, the status of the clergy in the Norwich 
diocese during the seventeenth century was very 
much higher than some writers have asserted it to be, 
and there was among them not only a large proportion 
of university men and sons of the gentry with 
private means, but many men of real learning, whose 
printed works prove them to have been diligent 

Bishop Jegon passed the greater portion of his 
time at the episcopal residence at Ludham, till a fire 
in 161 1 burned the house down and with it some 
of the muniments of the diocese. After this he re- 
tired to Aylsham, in the neighbourhood of which 
place he had made extensive purchases of land, and 
here he died, 13th March, 16 17. At the palace of 
Norwich he very rarely, if ever, resided. 

' It is impossible to dwell upon this subject here, but an 
instructive monograph might be drawn up upon the vexations 
of these courts, for which there is abundant evidence in the 
records of the diocese. 

1 82 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

In the twenty-four years that elapsed from the death 
of Bishop Jegon to the general break up in 1642, 
no fewer than seven bishops were appointed to the 
see of Norwich, every one of whom was translated 
from some other bishopric. That these prelates 
should have been able to leave any impression upon 
the diocese during their brief episcopate is not con- 
ceivable; only two of them were in any way connected 
with East Anglia ; their average tenure of office was 
scarcely more than three years, nevertheless they were 
all men of mark in their generation. 

John Overall, who was born at Hadleigh in 
Suffolk, became early a Fellow of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, and Professor of Divinity in that Univer- 
sity in 1596. In 1 60 1, he succeeded Nowell as dean 
of St. Paul's, and in March, 16 14, was promoted to 
the see of Coventry and Lichfield. He was translated 
to Norwich in May, 16 18, and he died a few days 
less than a year after his election — on the 1 2th May, 
1 619. He was a man of profound learning, earnest- 
ness, and piety. At Norwich he can have been but 
little known. 

His successor was Samuel Harsnet, a man of 
mean extraction but of great ability. He obtained 
a fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 
1583, and succeeded Bishop Andrews as master of 
the college in 1605. He became bishop of Chiches- 
ter in 1609, and was translated to Norwich in June, 
1619. During his episcopate he seems to have shown 
himself a devout and painstaking prelate, practising 
moderation and preaching it. Alas! the time for 
moderate men and their counsels had gone by. The 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 183 

zealots denounced him as a Papist ; the others hinted 
that he was at heart a Puritan, or something worse : 
he answered with some indignation to both charges. 
In March, 1628, he was entrusted with the drawing 
up of a petition to Charles I. from both Houses of 
Parliament, to put the laws against Papists in execu- 
tion : the petition, though accepted, was disregarded. 
In the following November he was again translated, 
this time to the see of York. 

Dr. Francis White succeeded ; he was a Cam- 
bridge man and of Caius College. He had, in 1617, 
earned for himself a good reputation as a controver- 
sialist by a learned defence of a book which his 
brother. Dr. John White, had published, entitled, 
"The Orthodox Faith and Way to the Church." 
This brought him into notice, and in 1622 he was 
made dean of Carlisle. Next year he distinguished 
himself greatly in a controversy with "Fisher the 
Jesuit," 1 in the presence of James I., and when the 
see of Carlisle fell vacant, in 1626, he was appointed 
to the bishopric. He was translated to Norwich in 
February, 1629, and again removed to Ely in 1631. 
He was in money difficulties when he received the 
bishopric of Carlisle, and was compelled to sell his 
books. It is hardly probable that he had recovered 
himself before his last preferment came to him. As 
bishop of Norwich, he appears to have been a cipher. 

His successor was Richard Corbet, an Oxford 
man, celebrated for his exuberant wit, and, like all 
wits, slandered by the dull for his buffoonery. He 

* His real name was John Percy. 

184 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

became dean of Christ Church in 1620, and bishop 
of Oxford in 1629. He was translated to Norwich 
in 1632, and there he died in 1635 : three years ! 
but three momentous years. 

Archbishop Abbot died in 1633, and Laud, then 
bishop of London, succeeded. He had been virtually 
primate since the murder of Buckingham in 1628, 
and, from the time that he began to exercise in- 
fluence upon Charles I., he never swerved for a single 
moment from the policy which he believed to be 
needful for the restoration of discipline in the Church of 
England, and for the revival of what he believed to be 
her ancient and Catholic ritual. Inflexible, uncom- 
promising, perfectly regardless of consequences to him- 
self or others when he had persuaded himself that the 
cause he had espoused was the cause of God, he 
set himself to bear down all opposition by sheer 
force of will and the employment of all the instru- 
ments of repression and coercion which could by 
any means be utilised to silence, to frighten, or to 
punish. The immense stubbornness, the intense 
sincerity of the primate, made him see in his own 
purpose a divine mission which it was given to him 
to discharge : for that mission he lived and died. 
Looking back upon his career, through all that this 
Church of England has suffered and achieved during 
the two centuries and a half since he fell a victim to 
the passions he had done so much to rouse, it is a 
question whether that career was a failure after all. 
Into that question, however, it is impossible to enter 
here. We have not space for more than a bare 
enumeration of facts. 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 1 85 

The first Parliament of Charles I. assembled on 
1 8th June, 1625, and was dissolved on 12th August, 
The second met on 26th February, 1626, and was 
dissolved on 15th June. The third met on 13th 
March, 1628, was prorogued on the 26th June, re- 
assembled on 20th January, 1629, and dissolved on 
19th March. It is no over-statement to say that the 
proximate cause of the dissolution of these three 
Parliaments of Charles I. was the subordination of 
all legislative business to the demands for the redress 
of religious grievances. A tempest of religious frenzy 
was raging. The great mass of the people were not 
to be calmed by words of menace or by acts of 
severity; but their leaders and teachers might be 
silenced, the clergy at least might be forced to con- 
form, and the experiment was made. Hence the 
futile attempt to force the Liturgy upon Scotland 
and to settle the Sabbatarian controversy^ by the 
issue of the " Book of Sports " ; hence, too, the re- 
moval of the communion-table to the east end of 
the chancel, which, though it had been a subject 
of dispute at Grantham and at Abingdon in 1627, 
was not authoritatively enjoined till now: and all 
this in the single year 1633, the first year of Laud's 
tenure of the archiepiscopal see. Next year the tole- 
ration which had been granted for fifty years to the 
French and Belgiaa Protestants in London and Nor- 
wich was withdrawn, and an exodus from Norfolk to 
Holland began, hardly less important than that from 
Belgium to Norfolk in the days of Alva. 

* First stirred up by a Suffolk clergyman, Theophilus Bra- 
burne, in 1628. 

l86 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

Under all this pressure, the clergy, as a rule, 
submitted and conformed. Some sought refuge in 
flight across the Atlantic, and carried with them 
to New England and Massachusetts the fierce 
intolerance and terrible rigour from which they had 
suffered and learned so well in their old homes.^ 
Some sought an asylum in Holland, as Yates and 
Samuel Ward, who were the popular preachers at 
Ipswich when Bishop Corbet resided there, and 
whose congregations were left to make the best of it 
in the absence of their venerated ministers. But 
though the clergy might be cowed, the laity were not, 
and among the mercantile and trading classes who 
were amassing wealth with unexampled rapidity at the 
same time that the gentry were spending with un- 
exampled extravagance, there was deep discontent 
and passionate outcry against the tyranny of the 
bishops, and especially of the primate. ** Men's 
minds, distempered in this age with .... a mutinous 
tendency, were exasperated with such small occasions 

' The following is a specimen of the laws drawn up for the 
colony of Massachusetts : — ** Whosoever shall profane the Lord's 
day by doing unnecessary work, by unnecessary travelling, or 
by sports and recreations, he or they who so transgress shall 
forfeit forty shillings or be publicly whipped; but if it shall 
appear to have been done presumptuously, such person or 
persons shall be put to deathy or otherwise severely punished, at 
the discretion of the Court. No one shall run on the Sabbath- 
day, or walk in his garden, or elsewhere, except reverently to 
and from meeting. No one shall travel, cook victuals, make 
beds, sweep house, cut hair or shave, on the Sabbath-day." — 
Dr. Hessey's ** Bampton Lectures," p. 285 ; quoted in Perry's 
** Church of England," vol. i., p. 437, n. 

A.D. 1635.] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 1 87 

as Otherwise might have been passed over and no 
notice taken thereof." ^ 

In no part of England was there more bitterness 
of feeling or more fierce antipathy to ecclesiastical 
order and authority than in East Anglia, and wealthy 
merchants and others who hated the new rkgime 
showed much ingenuity in "skulking behind the 
laws." A practice had become very common, for 
such as were possessed of sufficient means, to 
maintain a private chaplain in their families, and in 
effect to harbour and maintain the non-conforming 
preachers. The bishops had shown some laxity in 
ordaining these irregular clergy, with no title but their 
chaplaincies, and as they were dependent upon their 
employer for their subsistence, they were practically 
under no episcopal jurisdiction. Such men were sure 
to be utilised as itinerants and propagators of their 
own favourite tenets, and in the flourishing towns of 
East Anglia we find that their numbers were not 

One of Laud's earliest injunctions was directed 
against these "vagrant ministers," but, from the nature 
of the case, it was difficult to bring them under 
episcopal control. Bishop Corbet, among other 
grounds for congratulation, in his answers to Laud's 
inquiries, boasts that he had made "two wandering 
preachers run out of his diocese " ; nevertheless, he 
adds, " For lectures they abound in Suffolk, and many 
set up by private gentlemen even without so much as 
the knowledge of the ordinary." At Bury St. Edmunds 

» Fuller. 

1 88 NORWICH. [a.D. 1536- 

and at Ipswich, lecturers had been silenced. At 
Yarmouth there was great division heretofore for many 
years : " their lecturer, being censured in the High 
Commission Court, about two years since went into 
New England, since which time there hath been no 

lecture, and very much peace in the town 

One in Norwich, one Mr. Bridge, rather than he 
would conform, hath left his lecture and two cures, 
and is gone into Holland. "^ 

It would, however, be unfair to assume that the 
efforts of Laud to bring about a stricter uniformity in 
ritual were anything more than means to a higher 
end. In his view such uniformity was a sine ^ud non 
to the general raising of religious sentiment and re- 
ligious life. Laxity of all kinds in the clergy was to 
be sternly reproved, and, if need were, punished. For 
a generation or more the beneficed clergy had been 
allowed to reside in their cures or not, as they pleased : 
they had, in fact, been suffered to go on in their own 
ways. Living as they had been doing under a strict and 
jealous espionage^ there is no reason to believe that 
their private lives were blameworthy ; on the contrary, 
rumours to their discredit were very rare : their pri- 

^ The suspended lecturer at Yarmouth was Mr. George 
Burdett, about whom see Blomefield, xi., 370-372. Mr. William 
Bridge was a much more celebrated person. He was of 
Emmanuel College, and at this time rector of St. Peter 
Hungate, and St. George's Tombland, in Norwich. At the 
latter church he held a Friday lecture. He escaped to Rotter- 
dam for a time, but returned in 1642, and was a very popular 
preacher at Yarmouth. At the Restoration, he was ejected once 
more. His works were published in five vols., 8vo., in 1S45, 
with a brief memoir. 

A.D. l635-] CHAOS COME AGAIN. 189 

vate virtues had, in fact, given them, as a class, extra- 
ordinary influence and power. But it was clearly for 
the advantage of the country parishes that non-resi- 
dence should be discouraged ; and Bishop Corbet 
was quite right when he said, " I think it very fit the 
beneficed men were presently commanded to reside 
upon their cures." It was not that there had not 
been disorder, and great laxity, and great negligence, 
nor that a reform of church discipline was not 
grievously needed, but rather because it was so much 
needed that the crisis called for a ruler of consum- 
mate discretion with the tact and suavity, the gentle- 
ness and s)rmpathy which were never more con- 
spicuously absent than in the character of Archbishop 

190 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 



Bishop Corbet died on the 28th July; his suc- 
cessor was elected on loth November, 1635. This 
was Dr. Matthew Wren. The new bishop was 
a very different man from his predecessor. His 
career at Cambridge was distinguished, and it was 
while he was Fellow of Pembroke Hall that James I., 
in 16 1 5, paid his famous visit to Cambridge. 
Mr. Wren attracted the king's attention by the 
brilliant way in which he acquitted himself in the 
"Philosophy Act"; and, after receiving various minor 
preferments, he was consecrated Bishop of Hereford, 
on the 8th March, 1635. He can scarcely have 
received from his first bishopric sufficient to pay the 
fees of his promotion when he was translated to 

Two years before the death of Bishop Corbet, 
Archbishop Laud sent down his vicar-general to hold 
a visitation of the East Anglian diocese. The report 
is not a pleasing one ; and it appears by it that the 
cathedral was in a condition of great dilapidation, 
and "the spire of the steeple quite down/' Next 
year we find it was re-edified, at whose expense is 
not certainly known. 

Bishop Wren's primary visitation was a very 
memorable one. There is among the Tanner MSS. 


at Oxford a considerable body of evidence still 
existing regarding it, which never has been, but well 
deserves to be, published. Only the " Particulars, 
orders, directions, and remembrances," which were 
issued by the bishop on the occasion, have been 
printed by Mr. Perry in extensor These orders are 
constructed exactly on the lines laid down by the 
primate, and were enforced with inflexible rigour by 
his faithful suffragan. Irritation and bitterness went 
on increasing, and the exodus to New England this 
year is said by the historian of America to have 
exceeded two thousand. But Bishop Wren never 
relaxed in his efforts — as if his only notion of pre- 
venting a catastrophe, when the explosive force was 
generating with alarming rapidity, was firmly to press 
down the safety-valve. For three years he adhered 
to this policy with disastrous results, and, when he 
was translated to the see of Ely, in 1638, he left 
a dismal legacy to his successor, which he in his 
turn passed on. Dr. Richard Montague had been 
ten years bishop of Chichester when he was trans- 
lated to the see of Norwich. On his earlier career, 
on his literary ability, on his famous book, "Apello 
Caesarem," on the furious attack upon him by the 
House of Commons in the first Parliament of Charles I., 
and again in the second, and on the shower of 
treatises that rained upon him in answer to his 
Appeal^ this is not the place to dwell. When he 
came to Norwich he was inclined to moderation, but 
the time for compromise had gone. 

* ** History of the Church of England," vol. ii., Appendix B. 

192 • NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

It seems that Bishop Montague was in failing 
health when he came to Norwich, and little able to 
take any active part in the administration of his 
diocese. Indeed, what would anything have availed 
then ? For more than eleven years there had been 
no meeting of Parliament. Once more it was called 
together, assembled on 13th April, and was dissolved 
on 5th May, 1640. But the convocation of clergy 
still continued its sittings, and proceeded, under a 
royal commission, to make new canons. Among 
them the famous sixth canon, for enforcing the 
" Et Csetera " oath. Four days after the dissolution 
of the Parliament, Lambeth Palace was besieged by 
a furious mob ; the nation was in a frenzy, every- 
thing was going wrong. At last came the Long 
Parliament, on 3rd November, 1640. That day week 
began the attack upon Archbishop Laud. Next 
month, Pennington, at the head of a vast mob, 
presented the London petition; a week after, the 
primate was taken into custody; and these events 
followed with such rapidity, that in the general .con- 
fusion it is not easy to mark their sequence. On 
1 2th May, 1641, Lord Strafford was beheaded. On 
15th November, Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, 
was elected to the bishopric of Norwich. " On 
January 30th, 1642, in all the extremity of frost, at 
eight o'clock in the dark evening," writes the bishop 
for himself and his episcopal brethren, who had been 
severally charged with high treason, " are we voted 
to the Tower, and the news of our imprisonment 
was entertained with ringing of bells, and bonfires, 
and men gave us up for lost, railing on our per- 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 1 93 

fidiousness, and adjudging us to what foul death they 

In the general confusion and tumult of the next 
few months it is difficult to trace the fortunes of the 
now persecuted side, or to discover what actually 
happened to even the more prominent personages. 
We only know, that some months after his first 
imprisonment the bishop was ordered to go down to 
his diocese. It may safely be said that at this time 
no divine in England was so universally respected 
and admired as Bishop Hall ; no books were more 
widely read than his ; no preacher was more eagerly 
listened to or more sought after by all classes. As a 
disputant he was by far the most formidable contro- 
versialist of his time. He was no mean poet, and 
among the first writers of satirical poetry in the 
language. He was master of a pure style, at once 
simple, lucid, and vigorous. He had travelled much 
upon the Continent, where he was highly esteemed 
as a polemic of the very first order. In private life 
he was an example of uprightness, suavity, and 
open-handed munificence, even when he had been 
despoiled of all his episcopal income, and a great 
part of his private fortune besides. If it had not 
been for a small income which his wife possessed, 
and the profits of his books, which went on selling 
during the Interregnum, he would have been in want 
of bread. When he presented himself at Norwich 
in the spring of 1642, he was received with much 
greater cordiality than he had expected ; and the day 
after his arrival in the city he preached to a numerous 
and attentive congregation. He took up his resi- 


194 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

dence at the episcopal palace, and set himself, not 
without success, to win the confidence of all classes. 
It was all in vain ; next year, 1643, Parliament, 
whose affairs of late had not prospered, growing 
desperate, and determined to crush the spirit of their 
opponents and especially of the clergy, passed the 
terrible ordinance of sequestration, and Bishop Hall 
has told us what followed. An extract from his own 
account of his troubles at Norwich, will give the 
reader the best possible picture of the hard measure 
which he had to suffer, and the scenes of violence 
that he went through : — 

" The first noise that I heard of my trouble was, 
that one morning, before my servants were up, there 
came to my gates one night a London trooper, 
attended with others requiring entrance, threatening, 
if they were not admitted, to break open the gates ; 
whom I found at my first sight struggling with one of 
my servants for a pistol which he had in his hand. 
I demanded his business at that unreasonable time ; 
he told me he came to search for arms and ammuni- 
tion, of which I must be disarmed. I told him I 
had only two muskets in the house, and no other 
military provision. He not resting upon my word 
searched round about the house, looked into the 
chests and trunks, examined the vessels in the cellar \ 
finding no other warlike furniture, he asked me what 
horses I had, for his commission was to take them 
also. I told him how poorly I was stored, and that 
my age would not allow me to travel on foot. In 
conclusion, he took one horse for the present, and such 
account of another that he did highly expostulate 


with me afterwards, that I had otherwise disposed of 

" Now not only my rents present, but the arrearages 
of the former years, which I had in favour forborne 
to some tenants, being treacherously confessed to the 
sequestrators, were by them called for and taken 
from me ; neither was there any course at all taken 
for my maintenance. I therefore addressed myself 
to the committee sitting here at Norwich, and desired 
them to give order for some means out of that large 
patrimony of the church to be allowed me. 

"They all thought it very just, and there being 
present Sir Thomas Woodhouse and Sir John Potts, 
Parliament men, it was moved and held fit by them 
and the rest, that the proportion which the votes of 
the Parliament had pitched upon, viz., ;^4oo per 
annum, should be allowed to me. My lord of 
Manchester, who was then conceived to have great 
power in matter of these sequestrations, was moved 
herewith. He apprehended it very just and reason- 
able, and wrote to the committee here to let out so 
many of the manors belonging to this bishopric as 
should amount to the said sum of ;^4oo annually ; 
which was answerably done under the hands of the 
whole table. And now I well hoped, I should yet 
have a good competency of maintenance out of that 
plentiful estate which I might have had; but those 
hopes were no sooner conceived than dashed, for, 
before I could gather up one quarter's rent, there 
comes down an order from the committee for seques- 
trations above, under the hand of Sergeant Wild, the 
chairman, procured by Mr. Miles Corbet, to inhibit 

o 2 

196 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

any such allowance ; and telling our committee here, 
that neither they nor any other had power to allow 
me anything at all : but if my wife found herself to 
need a maintenance, upon her suit to the committee 
of lords and commons, it might be granted that she 
should have a fifth part according to the ordinance, 
allowed for the sustentation of herself and her family. 
Hereupon she sends a petition up to that committee, 
which after a long delay was admitted to be read and 
an order granted for the fifth part. But still the 
rents and revenues both of my spiritual and temporal 
lands were taken up by the sequestrators both in 
Norfolk, and Suffolk, and Essex, and we kept off from 
either allowance or account. At last upon much 
pressing Beadle the solicitor, and Rust the collector, 
brought in an account to the committee, such as it 
was ; but so confused and perplexed and so utterly 
imperfect, that we could never come to know what a 
fifth part meant : but they were content that I should 
eat my books by setting off the sum engaged for 
them out of the fifth part. Meantime the synodals 
both in Norfolk and Suffolk, and all the spiritual 
profits of the diocese, were also kept back, only 
ordinations and institutions continued a while. But 
after the covenant was appointed to be taken and 
was generally swallowed of both clergy and laity, my 
power of ordination was with some strange violence 
restrained. For when I was going on in my wonted 
course (which no law or ordinance had inhibited) 
certain forward volunteers in the city call me to an 
account for an open violation of their covenant. 

A.D. 1 69 1. J FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 197 

Whiles I received nothing, yet something was 
required of me. They were not ashamed after they 
had taken away and sold all my goods and personal 
estate, to come to me for assessments and monthly 
payments for that estate which they had taken, and 
took distresses from me upon my most just denial, 
and vehemently required me to find the wonted arms 
of my predecessors, when they had left me nothing. 
Many insolences and affronts w«re in all this time 
put upon us. One while a whole rabble of volunteers 
came to my gates late, when they were locked up, 
and called for the porter to give them entrance, which 
being not yielded, they threatened to make by force, 
and had not the said gates been very strong they had 
done it Others of them clambered over the walls 
and would come into mine house ; their errand (they 
said) was to search for delinquents. What they would 
have done, I know not, had not we by a secret way 
sent to raise the officers for our rescue. Another 
while the sheriff Toftes, and Alderman Linsey, 
attended with many zealous followers, came into my 
chapel to look for superstitious pictures and relics of 
idolatry, and sent for me, to let me know they found 
those windows full of images, which were very 
offensive, and must be demolished ! I told them 
they were the pictures of some antient and worthy 
bishops, as St. Ambrose, Austin, &c. It was answered 
me, that they were so many popes ; and one younger 
man amongst the rest (Townsend as I perceived 
afterwards) would take upon him to defend that 
every diocesan bishop was pope. I answered him 
with some scorn, and obtained leave that I might 

198 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

with the least loss and defacing of the windows, give 
order for taking off that offence, which I did by 
causing the heads of those pictures to be taken off 
since I knew the bodies could not offend. 

" There was not that care and moderation used in 
reforming the cathedral church bordering upon my 
palace. It is no other than tragical to relate the 
carriage of that furious sacrilege, whereof our eyes 
and ears were the sad witnesses, under the authority 
and presence of Linsey, Toftes the sheriff, and 
Greenwood. Lord, what work was here ; what clat- 
tering of glasses, what beating down of walls, what 
tearing up of monuments, what pulling down of seats, 
what wresting out of irons and brass from the win- 
dows and graves ; what defacing of arms, what de- 
molishing of curious stone-work that had not any 
representation in the world, but only of the cost of 
the founder and skill of the mason ; what tooting 
and piping upon the destroyed organ-pipes, and what 
a hideous triumph on the market day before all the 
country, when, in a kind of sacrilegious and profane 
procession, all the organ-pipes, vestments, both copes 
and surplices, together with the leaden cross, which 
had been newly sawn down from over the green-yard 
pulpit, and the service books and singing books that 
could be had, were carried to the fire in the public 
market-place ; a lewd wretch walking before the 
train in his cope trailing in the dirt, with a service 
book in his hand, imitating in an impious scorn the 
tune, and usurping the words of the Litany used 
formerly in the church ! Near the public cross, all 
these monuments of idolatry must be sacrificed to 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 1 99 

the fire, not without much ostentation of a zealous 

joy in discharging ordnance to the cost of some who 

professed how much they had longed to see that day. 

Neither was it any news upon this guild-day to have 

the cathedral now open on all sides to be filled with 

musketeers, waiting for the mayor's return, drinking 

and tobacconing as freely as if it had turned alehouse." ^ 
* * ♦ * ♦ 

Though the spoilers began at the bishop they did 
not end with him. Throughout the whole diocese, 
wherever a clergyman was suspected of any loyalty 
to his sovereign, or any dislike of the dominant 
faction in Parliament, he was ousted from his pre- 
ferment without ceremony and without pity. Some 
hundreds of the Norfolk and Suffolk clergy were 
turned out of doors, in most cases at a few hours' 
notice ; nor were they only deprived of their livings 
and all emoluments derivable from the benefice, but 
their private estates were heavily taxed to bear the 
expenses of the war against the king; the more 
valuable the living the more sure was the incumbent 
to be denounced as a malignant. 

The frivolous charges made against some of the 
country clergy would seem to us quite incredible if 
they were not so well authenticated, and the ran- 
corous cruelty with which some were persecuted for 
years after they were ejected is almost unexampled, 
even in the deplorable annals of bigotry and intole- 
rance. In many instances an ejected minister, finding 
himself penniless, supported himself by taking pupils, 

» See Note (F). 

200 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

and even from this means of livelihood he was not 
unfrequently debarred. Thus Mr. Lionel Gatford, 
who had been turned out of the living of Dennington 
in Suffolk, set up a school at Keninghall. Just as 
he was prospering in his new occupation, it was 
found out that he still persisted in using the Liturgy; 
he was hunted down, and compelled to remove 
from place to place, again and again driven from 
his home. Mr. Hugh Williams, who was ejected 
from the living of Forncett, settled at Low Leyton 
in Essex, and opened a school, which was thriving 
fairly when he received a command to desist 
from his occupation. The same thing happened 
to Mr. Nathaniel Goodwin, vicar of Cransford, 
and to Thomas Tyllot, rector of Depden, when the 
ordinance came out that no sequestered minister 
should be allowed to teach a private school. Yet, as 
always happens, and always will happen, persecution 
brought out in many of the oppressed some very 
noble examples of generosity and the highest Christian 
virtues. The rector of St. Margaret's, Ipswich, Geast 
by name, might amuse himself with a somewhat grim 
joke when he told his friends that he had counted 
the words in the Solemn League and Covenant and 
found them to number exactly six hundred and sixty 
and six ; and the rector of Burgh, near Aylsham, 
might enjoy the fun of keeping the parish register in 
his own possession, and leave on record how he had 
persisted in using the Book of Common Prayer for 
years after he had been ejected, had married people 
with the ring, and had baptised children with the 
sign of the cross ; but for the most part the sense 


of wrong was too deep, and the sorrow and trouble 
too poignant to allow of any but such reflections as 
soften a man and bring out the best parts of his 
character. Thus Lawrence Bretton, when ejected 
from his living of Hitcham in Suffolk, and plundered 
of his landed estates, managed to live in some com- 
fort on the interest of money which he had put out. 
He retired to Hadleigh, his birthplace, and there 
became known for his liberal almsgiving and his 
daily use of the service, which he read to all who 
chose to attend. Lionel Playters, again, after being 
deprived of his living of Uggeshall, never ceased to 
exercise his ministry, and years after he had suc- 
ceeded to a baronetcy by the death of his elder 
brother, continued to preach regularly, and did so 
to the end of his life, though the Restoration had 
come before then and he had exchanged poverty 
for affluence. The story of the parishioners of 
Dickleburgh vainly endeavouring to retain their 
dearly loved rector, and combining to protect him 
and his property when the sequestrators came to 
rob him, is one of the most touching narratives in 
all that sad collection of heart-rending stories with 
which Walker's pages are filled. 

Bishop Hall died 8th September, 1656, in the 
eighty-third year of his age. He never left his dio- 
cese, but spent his later years at Heigham, a suburb 
of Norwich, dispensing to the last his gentle charities, 
and showing a brave heart and a Christian temper 
which all the malice of his enemies could not ruffle. 
When the Restoration came at last, after eighteen 
years of bitter trial, there was no bishop of Norwich, 

202 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

nor dean of the cathedral, nor a single archdeacon. 
One of the prebends — Spendlove — was in prison for 
debts contracted in his deep poverty which he had 
not the means of paying. The single other represen- 
tative of the chapter who survived to see Charles 11. 
proclaimed, was Edward Young, who soon was trans- 
ferred to the deanery of York. The churches had 
become deplorably dilapidated, the parsonage-houses 
in many cases were roofless and ruinous, but the great 
mass of the people were utterly weary of a condition 
of affairs which had become intolerable. Even the 
generation which had grown up under the new regime 
looked with eagerness to the hope of a Restoration in 
the State and in the Church. 

Oliver Cromwell died 3rd September, 1658, three 
years after the cruel edict was issued which forbade 
that any ejected clergyman should be permitted to 
keep any school, public or private, or preach in any 
public place or at any private meeting. When this 
edict was carried into effect, things had almost come 
to their worst in the Church of England. Richard 
Cromwell called a Parliament on the 27th January, 
1659, and dissolved it on the 22nd April. Then 
followed the resuscitation of the Long Parliament in 
the person of its forty-two surviving members, and the 
quarrel between this Parliament— the Rump — and the 
army. At last the Restoration came, and Charles II. 
entered London as king on the 29th May, 1660. 

Since the judicial murder of Archbishop Laud, 
seventeen of the bishops had died. At the Restora- 
tion there were nine prelates still alive who had sur- 
vived the long period of plunder and persecution ; 

A.D, 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 203 

one of them, Bishop Wren, formerly of Norwich and 
afterwards of Ely, was still a prisoner jn the Tower, 
though he had never been brought to trial. The 
clergy were divided into two great parties ; the one 
consisted of those who had been episcopally ordained 
in the old days, and in large numbers had been 
ejected from their livings for their loyalty and attach- 
ment to the Liturgy ; the other party was composed 
of such as were, more or less, opposed to episcopacy 
altogether, who had themselves received orders by 
the laying-on of the hands of the presbytery only, 
and who had nothing to gain and everything to lose 
by the bringing in again of the old order. Many of 
these latter had supplanted the old incumbents, and 
for years had enjoyed their benefices. What was to 
become of them now ? Where the ejected clergy were 
still alive they were forthwith reinstated into their 
livings ; where they had died off, the interlopers were 
allowed to remain for a while, at any rate, undisturbed. 
Outside the Church there were the sects to deal with. 
By far the most powerful of these were the Inde- 
pendents. They may be said to have risen into 
notice first in the diocese of Norwich, and it was 
here that they first became a formidable and aggres- 
sive body under the original leadership of Robert 
Browne in Suffolk, and subsequently under the far 
abler and more saintly John Robinson at Norwich. 
Driven out of England, they settled for some years 
in Holland. When the ordinance for the seques- 
tration of the bishops' estates was passed they re- 
turned in great numbers to their own country, and 
met with a cordial reception in some quarters. They 

204 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

were well represented in the assembly of divines, and 
from henceforth appear as a recognised party in all 
the religious warfare that ensued. Oliver Cromwell 
for some time seemed to throw his whole influence 
into their scale ; perhaps he was using them for his 
own ends. It was the irrepressible self-assertion of 
their ministers that gained for them a fictitious im- 
portance wholly out of proportion to their numbers. 
But, while the Church was divided into Episcopalians 
and Presbyterians^ the Independents were the spokes- 
men of the sects ; and outside of these again, and 
opposed by all the rest, were those who were in com- 
munion with the Church of Rome, and who were 
known by the old name of reproach as Papists, 

Three great matters required to be dealt with, and 
at once: (i) the filling up the vacant bishoprics; 
(2) the settling of the difficult problem of Presby- 
terian ordination; (3) the measure of toleration to 
the sectaries. 

Before filling up the vacant sees, it was deemed 
necessary to restore the cathedral chapters, with 
whom, technically, the election of the bishops lay^ 
To the deanery of Norwich the king appointed Dr. 
John Crofts, whose brother, William Lord Crofts, was 
at this time high in favour. The prebendaries of the 
third and fourth stalls had been appointed before 
the rebellion and ejected ; they returned to their 
places, of course. Mr. Spendlove, who had been 
promoted as early as 16 16 to the sixth prebend, 
had been utterly beggared, and died almost in want 
in 1666. The vacant stalls were filled up by very 
competent men, one of them being Dr. Vincent 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 205 

Piers, chaplain to Charles II., as he had formerly 
been to his father. 

To the bishopric was elected on the 28th November, 
1660, Dr. Edward Reynolds, and he was conse- 
crated in Henry VII. *s Chapel 6th January, 1661. 
Though Bishop Reynolds had been identified for 
years with the Presbyterians, and had, indeed, been 
a prominent divine of the party, yet he had experi- 
enced persecution himself at the hands of the zealots, 
and after being a member of the Assembly, one of 
the visitors of the University of Oxford, and then 
Dean of Christ Church, he, too, had been ejected 
from his deanery during the domination of the Inde- 
pendents, and kept out of it for nine years. Asso- 
ciated as he had been with Richard Baxter and Dr. 
Calamy, there was a doubt whether or not he would 
follow their example and decline the bishopric; it was 
well for Norwich that wiser counsels prevailed, and a 
man so learned, earnest, and conscientious, should have 
been appointed at this crisis to preside over the see. 

II. Before long it became evident that it was im- 
possible to avoid adopting measures which would 
press heavily upon many who could not be prevailed 
on to submit themselves to the revived discipline or 
to consent to episcopal ordination, and that happened 
with several Presbyterians who had ousted others, 
and were ejected themselves in their turn. 

In the diocese of Norwich it appears that sixty- 
seven ministers were ejected from their cures. Of 
these, nine afterwards conformed. Eleven were hold- 
ing benefices the incumbents of which had been 
dispossessed eighteen years before, and had survived 

306 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

the Commonwealth ; thus the number of those who 
were cast out " for conscience sake " in the diocese 
of Norwich amounted to forty-seven, all told. How 
inconsiderable this number was in comparison with 
those who had suffered the loss of all things during 
the Rebellion .may be easily gathered from the fact 
that, eighteen years after the sequestration ordinance 
of 1642, there were still thirty-one beneficed clergy- 
men who are known to have been alive, and who 
thought it worth while to petition the House of Lords 
for restitution j while of that far larger number who 
had died of misery and want, and of those who, 
being still alive, had not the heart or the means to 
incur the expense, or whose livings were not worth 
asking for again, no account has been taken, and 
little record remains ^ except such as the diligence of 
John Walker could collect more than fifty years after 
the Restoration had been brought about. 

III. The attempt to grant toleration to all again 
failed deplorably. It was violently resisted by those 
who were most vehement in demanding it for them- 
selves; for, though the Dissenters ^^xq loud in claim- 
ing the right to worship God after their own fashion, 
they were louder still in denying liberty of conscience 
to the Papists, Intolerance won the day, and there- 

' The whole number of clergy in the counties of Norfolk and 
Suffolk deprived of their cures can hardly be estimated at less 
than 250. Walker gives the names and sufferings of 214. The 
list is confessedly incomplete, and requires to be supplemented 
by the collections of those who have carried on researches on 
the subject. It must be remembered that there were several 
livings in the Isle of Ely which were then comprehended in the 
diocese of Norwich. 


upon followed in too rapid succession those infamous 
Acts which are the disgrace of our Statute Book, and 
which only too late were at last happily swept away. 
Who can think, without a blush, of the Act of Uni- 
farmity^ the Conventicle Act, and the Five-mile Act, 
and all the shameful proceedings which ensued as the 
inevitable consequence of those un-Christian laws? 
It must not be forgotten, however, that the cruelty 
practised in some dioceses was by no means observ- 
able in all ; and, under a prelate such as was Bishop 
Reynolds, the treatment received by the Noncon- 
formists was not. likely to be as bad as it unhappily 
was elsewhere. We hear of no harshness in East 
. Anglia. 

In at least five ^ of the churches of Norwich, the 
ministers who had been intruded into the cures during 
the Commonwealth were suffered to remain undis- 
turbed, though they were presumably men of decided 
Presbyterian leaning. One clergyman, the rector of 
All Saints*, who had been instituted as far back as 
1624, retained his living through all the troubled 
tipies, never left his cure, and died at his post after 
an incumbency of fifty-two years, in 1679. ^^t the 
most interesting case is that of John Whitefoot. He 
was a close personal friend of Bishop Hall's, and by 
him presented to the benefice in 1652, ten years after 
Hall had himself been driven from his bishopric 

* I. St. Peter's Mancroft ; 2. St. Edmund's ; 3. St. Saviour's ; 
4. St. Augustine's; 5. St. Stephen's. Dr. Collings, though 
ejected from this parish as vicar, continued to minister here and 
at St. Saviour's till 1678, at any rate; how much longer, I have 
not been able to ascertain. 


208 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636- 

and plundered in different ways ; but he still retained 
his patronage of the rectory of Heigham by virtue of 
his being Abbot of Hultn, Mr. Whitefoot held the 
living for thirty years undisturbed. 

During Bishop Reynolds's episcopate, no less than 
three future archbishops of Canterbury were more or 
less connected with the see of Norwich. At the 
time of the Restoration, Bancroft was living on his 
property at Fressingfield, in Suffolk, after having been 
ejected from his fellowship at Emmanuel College, 
Cambridge. Tillotson became Rector of Redington, 
in the same county, in 1662,* and held it for two or 
three years. Tenison was minister of St. Peter's 
Mancroft, in the city of Norwich, at the time that 
Bishop Reynolds died. 

For sixteen years the bishop's mild and gentle rule 
continued. In the great plague of 1666, his charity 
to the needy and distressed was unbounded. He 
exerted himself strenuously to improve the condition 
of the poorer clergy, and by his noble example stimu- 
lated others to do the same. In renewing his leases, 
he systematically reserved substantial annuities to be 
paid to the impoverished incumbents whom, under 
the system of impropriations, the monks had plun- 
dered in the old time ; and in his will he gave proofs 
of his thoughtful munificence by the legacies he left 
behind him. One great supreme gift he gave, not to 
his diocese alone, but to the Church of England, for 
which his name deserves to be remembered with 
lasting gratitude by all who worship within her pale. 
How few there are who pour out their hearts in the 
words of her daily office who know that the adoring 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 209 

words of the General Thanksgiving are the compo- 
sition of Edward Reynolds, bishop of Norwich, 
and that it was he who drew up that matchless con- 
tribution to the Book of Common Prayer ! 

Bishop Reynolds died 28th July, 1676, and was 
succeeded by Anthony Sparrow, translated from 
the see of Exeter. 

Bishop Sparrow was born at Depden in Suffolk, 
where, upon a considerable estate which he had 
inherited from his father, he lived for eleven years 
after he had been ejected from his fellowship at 
Queen's College, Cambridge, and subsequently from 
the rectory of Hawkedon in his native county. The 
year before Cromwell died he published his well- 
known "Rationale upon the Book of Common 
Prayer," and this at a time when the use of it was 
forbidden under heavy penalties. While bishop he 
seems to have lived in the palace at Norwich habitu- 
ally,^ and to have been much respected and beloved j 
he died 19th May, 1685, ^^^^ an episcopate of 
nearly nine years, during which, in the face of great 
difficulties, he certainly contrived to work some change 
for the better, though in such an age reforms were 
hard to carry out when among clergy and laity ear- 
nestness and zeal were rare. 

There is no epoch in the history of England more 
humiliating to look back upon than the year 1685 ; 
that year when a king of England meanly apostatised 
upon his deathbed ; when, in defiance of every 

* When Bishop Reynolds came to Norwich he found the 
palace let out in tenements^ and in sore decay ; the palace chapel 
was a ruin. The latter he entirely rebuilt. 


2IO NORWICH. [a.d. i636-. 

honourable engagement, mass was publicly said at 
Whitehall; when the cruelties practised upon the 
wretched Titus Gates were but the beginning of that 
series of atrocities perpetrated upon the unhappy 
rebels in Scotland, the butcheries of the Bloody 
Assize, and the infamous persecution of the Dis- 
senters which raged during the autumn. On these 
horrors we are happily not called to dwell. 

James II. succeeded to the throne 5 th February ; 
Bishop Sparrow died on the 19th of May. On 
that day Parliament assembled, and among its first 
acts it resolved itself into a grand committee of 
religion, as if to show that the old differences still 
existed and the old quarrels were not dead. Then 
came the summer of rebellion, ending with the battle 
of Sedgmoor on the 6th July. Two days before this 
event, William Lloyd, a Welshman, succeeded to 
the bishopric of Norwich. Bishop Lloyd had been 
consecrated to Llandaff ten years before ;^ thence 
he was removed to Peterborough in 1679, ^^^ ^^^ 
finally was translated to the East Anglian see. The 
new bishop was a man of no learning or academical 
reputation, and had left St. John's College, Cambridge, 
shortly after taking his degree. After spending some 
years abroad, he appears to have returned to England 
at the Restoration, and to have been made preben- 

' There was another Bishop William Lloyd, who is very liable 
to be confused with the Bishop of Norwich. He was Fellow of 
Jesus College, Oxford, was made Dean of Bangor, 1672 ; 
Bishop of St. Asaph, 16S0 ; translated to Lichfield, 1692 ; and 
to Worcester, 1699. He died in 171 7- He was one of the 
seven bishops sent to the Tower in 1688. 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 211 

dary of St PauFs in 1672. . His promotion followed 
rapidly, but he was one whose conscience did not 
allow him to sell himself for lucre, and the infatuation 
of James II. in attempting to bring the nation into 
subjection to the papacy left him no choice as to his 
course. When the declaration for liberty of conscience 
was published in 1687, — a measure intended to out- 
wit everybody and which deceived nobody, — Bishop 
Lloyd acted with great promptness, and managed 
to get a letter from himself to his clergy printed and 
circulated before the objectionable document was in 
their hands. The result was that the declaration was 
not read at all in his diocese. It was by an accident 
that his name did not appear among the signatories 
to the petition to the king against the declaration, and 
he thereby escaped being thrown into the Tower with 
the seven bishops whose action contributed so much to 
hurry on the inevitable crisis. The crisis came and 
found Bishop Lloyd confused by his own scruples, 
and mastered by the genius and casuistry of abler men 
than himself. Sancroft, the primate, seems to have 
obtained a great ascendancy over him, and by 
Bancroft's course he set his own. Thus, when it 
became necessary for him to take the oath of alle- 
giance to William III., he refused, was ejected from 
his bishopric, and was thrust into a position for 
which he was wholly unfit, as leader of the Nonjurors . 
From that moment he seems to have lost his head. 
He wrote nothing, did nothing, was nothing but a 
clumsy intriguer. He had been an excellent preacher 
— to his gift of pulpit oratory he owed his pro- 
motion, — ^but now he was silenced ; he became seri- 

p 2 

212 NORWICH. [a,D. 1636- 

ously implicated in the disgraceful plot with which 
the name of another Nonjuror, — Turner, bishop of 
Ely, — is associated, and from his suburban retreat 
he kept up very suspicious relations with the Jacobite 
malcontents at home and abroad. For nineteen years 
he lived in his retirement, suspected but unmolested. 
However important a personage he may have seemed 
in his own eyes or in those of his ever-diminishing 
followers, he had utterly effaced himself, and nothing 
could have convinced him more bitterly of the folly 
of his career and its failure than the calm indifference 
with which he was treated by the sovereign, who could 
afford to take no notice of him or of his designs. 

The schism of the Nonjurors was, undoubtedly, a 
serious injury to the Church of England, and the more 
serious because it occurred exactly at a time when the 
old divisions seemed to be in a fair way of healing 
up, and when united action was supremely necessary ; 
but the vacant preferments were filled without diffi- 
culty by the appointment of divines hardly, if at all, 
inferior to those who left their posts. The whole 
number of those who were deprived scarcely exceeded 
four hundred, and in the diocese of Norwich only 
about twenty, and among them not a single man of 
any note or eminence, joined the party of secession. 
In the changes that ensued upon the Revolution, 
however, the cathedral suffered one great loss in the 
promotion of Dr. John Sharp from the deanery of 
Norwich to the deanery of Canterbury, whence he 
was removed to the archbishopric of York. A man 
of rare earnestness, learning, and discretion, and of a 
generous nature, he would have become a power 

A.D. 1 69 1.] FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE. 213 

for good in the East Anglian metropolis had he been 
suffered to remain ; he was, unfortunately, succeeded 
by a miserable creature whose only title to preferment 
was the prominent part he had taken in resisting 
James II.'s attempt to Romanise Oxford and to force 
a nominee of his own into the Headship of Magdalen 
College. Dr. Fairfax has been wickedly slandered, 
or he was the most disgraceful person who ever 
occupied the deanery. 

Bishop Lloyd died at Hammersmith, January i, 
1709. Nearly twenty-four years before, his entry into 
his diocese had resembled a triumphal procession. 
In the spring of 1686, his confirmation had been 
attended by hundreds, and of all ages. On one 
occasion three of the aldermen of Norwich, with 
their wives and families, had presented themselves at 
the rite. Everywhere he had been welcomed with 
enthusiasm. Twenty years had passed, and he was 

One act of his during his retirement must not be 
passed over without notice, though it can only be 
mentioned with regret and shame. On the 24th 
November, 1694, Bishop Lloyd, in conjunction with 
Turner, the deprived bishop of Ely, and White, 
actual bishop of Peterborough, consecrated Dr. George 
Hickes as bishop of Thetford, and Thomas Wagstaffe 
as bishop of Ipswich.^ It was a discreditable pro- 

' Dr. Hickes was one of the most learned scholars of his day. 
He had been Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, and was pre- 
ferred to the deanery of Worcester in 1683. Mr. Wagstaffe 
was a much more insignificant person ; he was rector of the 
united parishes of St. Margaret Pattens and St. Gabriel, Fen- 

214 NORWICH. [a.D. 1636^1691. 

ceeding to all concerned, though, as the event proved, 
it was less mischievous than futile. Mr. Wagstaffe is 
heard of no more. Dr. Hickes, some years after, 
exercised his episcopal functions, and unwisely. 

The Nonjurors died out, as a matter of course ; 
the curse of schism clung to them. The Church of 
England lost them, but, by their secession, none 

Bishop Lloyd was the sixth bishop of Norwich in 
direct succession, each of whom had suffered more 
or less severely in person or in substance for con- 
science sake. 

To recapitulate. 

Bishop Wren was a prisoner in the Tower for 
eighteen years. 

Bishop Montague was the object of unrelenting 
attacks by the Parliament, and was with difficulty 
delivered out of their hands. 

Bishop Hallos sufferings are well known. 

Bishop Reynolds was ejected from the deanery 
of Christ Church in 1650. 

Bishop Sparrow was turned out of the living of 
Hawkdon, in Suffolk, and kept out of it for eleven 

These were all cast out by others. Bishop Lloyd 
may, with justice, be said to have forced the " powers 
that be " to an exercise of severity they would gladly 
have been spared. 

church-street, London, from which he was ejected. He appears 
to have been a somewhat popular preacher. 

A.D. 169I-1884.] NORWICH. 215 



Oh, not for baneful self-complacency, 
Not for the setting-up our present selves 
To triumph o*er our past (worst pride of all), 
May we compare this present with that past ; 
But to provoke renewed acknowledgments. 
But to incite unto an earnest hope 
For all our brethren ! * * * 

***** Be it ours, 
Both thine and mine, to ask for that calm frame 
Of spirit, in which we know and deeply feel 
How little we can do, and yet do that. 

Bishop Moore held the see of Norwich for sixteen 
years ; he was consecrated on the 5th July, 1691, but 
it was more than a year before he appeared in his 
diocese. He had been one of the London clergy 
for some time before, and the London clergy now 
were monopolising all the preferment. A Cambridge 
man and fellow of St Catharine Hall for several 
years, he was a great favourer of Cambridge men. 
His love of books was a passion with him, and his 
immense library was purchased at his death by 
George I. and given to the University of Cambridge. 
During all the miserable contentions that make the 
history of convocation in the reign of Queen Anne 
such depressing reading, Bishop Moore sided with 

2l6 NORWICH. [a.D. 169I- 

the moderate party, and in his appointments he 
carefully avoided any countenance of the extremists. 
At no period before or since has the diocese of 
Norwich been able to boast of so many divines of 
learning and influence occupying prominent positions 
in the capitular body, and holding representative 
preferment, as during the time of Bishop Moore. 
The four archdeacons were all men of mark. Dr. 
Jeffery, the eloquent and exemplary minister of 
St. Peter's Mancroft, the editor of Whichcote's Dis- 
courses, was archdeacon of Norwich.^ Dr. Trimnell, 
who succeeded to the bishopric after Bishop Moore's 
removal from the see, was archdeacon of Norfolk. 
Mr. Nicholas Clagget was archdeacon of Sudbury, 
son of another Nicholas who had been a very notable 
lecturer at Bury St. Edmunds during the Common- 
wealth days, and intimately associated while there 
with Edward Calamy the Elder. When the father 
retired from his lectureship, his eldest son, Dr. 
William Clagget, succeeded to the post, and when he 
again retired, on being made Preacher to Gray's Inn, 
our Nicholas was elected, and won a high reputation 
for ability, zeal, and learning. But the most vigorous 
and energetic personage in the diocese was Dr. 
Humphrey Prideaux, a scholar of large and varied 
reading and a man of great energy of character; 
foremost in every good work, " intolerant of every- 
thing that savoured of slovenliness and neglect, he 
could make himself extremely disagreeable to a 
dissolute or worthless functionary, and was apt to 

* He, too, was of the Bishop's own College, St. Catharine's 

A.D. 1884.] onward! 217 

speak out so plainly that all men did not love him. 
Dr. Prideaux became dean of the Cathedral in 
1702, but held his archdeaconry with the deanery 
till his death. One characteristic of his visitation 
charges has been handed down to us, — he was very 
earnest in advocating the duty of family prayer. 

But the archdeacons were far from being the only 
notables at this time in the diocese. In the appoint- 
ment of his chaplains Bishop Moore showed his 
tastes very plainly. Among them were William 
Whiston (Sir Isaac Newton's successor as Lucasian 
Professor), an eccentric personage, who, however, 
had not yet propounded his wild theories; Dr. 
Samuel Clarke, another audacious genius, whose con- 
temporaries regarded him as one of the lights of the 
world j and Thomas Tanner, author of the " Notitia 
Monastica,'* who became chancellor of the diocese in 
1 701.1 How diligent and laborious a student Dr. 
Tanner was of the episcopal records, and how ably 
he epitomised the vast mass of documents that he 
studied so carefully, they know best who have had 
most occasion to refer to his precious volumes and to 
experience the boundless courtesy of their preesnt 
accomplished custodian.^ 

There were two other men of mark whom Bishop 

^ Dr. Tanner married a daughter of Bishop Moore*s, and 
became eventually Bishop of St, Asaph. 

* How he became possessor of the famous collection of MSS. 
now in the Bodleian, whether he had any right to appropriate 
them or to alienate them, and who are the rightful owners of 
the collection, are questions which it might be inconvenient to 
answer, and perhaps to ask. 

2l8 NORWICH. [a.D. 1691- 

MooRE had intended to patronise, but who broke 
away from Norwich early in their career. These were 
the brothers John and Benjamin Hoadley. Bishop 
Moore had brought their father, Samuel Hoadley, 
back to Norwich, his birthplace, and obtained for him 
the head mastership of the grammar school in 1699. 
John Hoadley, the future archbishop of Armagh, was 
sub-master of the school for some time. Benjamin, 
the more famous bishop of Winchester, first became 
notorious while lecturer at St. Mildred's, Poultry, — 
the rector of which church was Dr. Martin, a pre- 
bendary of Norwich. Though Benjamin Hoadley 
was another Catharine Hall man,^ Bishop Moore 
seems to have dropped him as a protegi after his 
much talked-of sermon before the Lord Mayor in 

It was during Bishop Moore's episcopate that a 

change for the better began in the moral and religious 

condition of society in England which was most 

sorely needed. The earnest and prayerful efforts of 

the societies for reformation of manners were rewarded 

with marked success — clergy and laity, Churchmen 

and Dissenters uniting cordially in their endeavours 

to minimise the dreadful evils which required to be 

put an end to. In 1698 the Society for the Promotion 

of Christian Knowledge was founded. It appears 

from Prideaux' letters that twenty years before this 

an attempt had been made to organise something like 

a Church Missionary Society. Prideaux' paper on 

the subject is printed in his Life. In 1701 the 

> lie entered at St. Catharine Hall, in 1692, as a pensioner 
under the future Bishop King. 

A.D. l834-] ONWARD ! 219 

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel received 
its charter. With much to deplore, there was much 
to encourage, and sanguine men may well have taken 
heart, and, as they watched the outlook, prophesied 
that better days were coming. Yet they came not. 
. Bishop MooRE was translated to Ely in 1707, and 
was succeeded by Dr. Charles Trimnell, who, 
together with his stall at Norwich, held the rectory of 
St. James's, Westminster, and had formerly been 
Preacher at the Rolls. He made his public entry 
into the city 21st May, 1707, and held the bishopric 
till 172 1, when he in his turn was translated to the 
see of Winchester. His episcopate was uneventful ; 
the old generation of distinguished clergymen, who 
had once been the pride of the diocese, passed away ; 
their successors were nonentities, of whom there is 
nothing to record. 

There was, however, one living link between the 
days of Bishop Moore and the dismal apathy of the 
Georgian era. When Archbishop Tenison was plain 
Mr. Tenison and a popular preacher at Norwich, 
there was a lad of sixteen at Norwich school who had 
shown signs of great ability, and whose name had 
been entered at Tenison's own college — Corpus 
Christi — in July, 1674. This was Thomas Green, 
son of a gentleman of the same name, a parishioner 
of the future primate's, and a man of substance in 
the city. Tenison took great interest in the youth, 
who, in process of time, became fellow, tutor, and 
master of his college, obtained the hand of a sister 
of Dr. Trimnel in marriage, and, after being made 
the primate's domestic chaplain, and then archdeacon 

2 20 NORWICH. [a.D. 1691- 

of Canterbury, succeeded his brother-in-law as bishop 
of Norwich, to which see he was consecrated 8th 
October, 1721. Having attained the proud position 
of bishop in his own birthplace, most men would 
have been content to rest there to the end; but 
Bishop Green was of a different mind. AUiorapeto 
seems to have been his motto, and, accordingly, having 
got all that could be hoped for from Norwich, he, less 
than two years after his consecration, consented to 
be translated to the richer see of Ely, where he died, 
at the age of eighty, on the i8th of May, 1738. He 
was the author of some writings, which were printed, 
and, possibly, at some time read. His brief term of 
office at Norwich must have been a disappointment 
to the diocese, which had a right to expect something 
from her own son. If he was soon forgotten and 
little regretted, it may have been that he did not 
deserve to be remembered. 

Bishop Green's successor was another Cambridge 
man, and another of those fellows of St. Catherine's 
Hall who rose to high preferment; this was John 
Leng, who was famous in his day as a Latin scholar, 
and was Boyle lecturer in 17 18 and 17 19. George I. 
made him one of his chaplains. He held the 
bishopric for just four years, and died of the small- 
pox, in London, in October, 1727. Dr. William 
Baker was bishop of Norwich for five years, having 
been translated to the see from Bangor. If he ever 
resided in his diocese, no record of his residence 
remains. He died at Bath, in December, 1732. Dr. 
Robert Butts, dean of the cathedral, to which he 
had been appointed a short month before, sue- 

A.D. 1 884. ] ONWARD ! 221 

ceeded. He was a Suffolk man ; appears to have 
been a good preacher of sermons, and to have shown 
some zeal and earnestness in his diocese ; but once 
more the bishopric of Ely proved an attraction which 
has so often proved irresistible to an East Anglian 
prelate, and to that see accordingly he was translated 
in 1738, and gave place to Dr. Thomas Gooch, 
ancestor of the present Sir Francis Gooch, Bart., of 
Benacre Hall, Suffolk.^ 

The bishop was translated from Bristol to Norwich, 
and thence to Ely in 1748. Horace Walpole has a 
sneer to throw at him; but he had not held the 
bishopric four years before he founded the valu- 
able society for the support of the widows and 
orphans of the clergy of the diocese, which has con- 
tinued ever since in a quiet, unostentatious way to 
relieve poverty and sorrow in many a stricken 

Bishop Samuel Lisle, translated from St. Asaph, 
was bishop of Norwich for barely six months. Bishop 
Haytor was consecrated on the 3rd December, 1749. 
He was a divine with a character for honesty and 
zeal rare in that bad time ; he had been archdeacon 
of York, chaplain to George II., and tutor to 
George HI., but in the Church of England in those 
days clergy and laity were slumbering. People 
thought only of politics, if they thought at all.^ 

Religious life had never been at so low an ebb. It 

' The bishop succeeded his brother as second baronet in 175 1. 

* " The people had no turn for controversy. The Church 
had no writers to make them fond of it again."— Horace 
Walpole, "History of George II.," vol. i., p. 147. 

222 NORWICH. [a.D. 169I- 

was in Bishop Haytor's days that the Wesleyan 
movement first made itself felt in the eastern coun- 
ties, though, to a much less degree, than in the south 
and west. Whitfield made more than one visit to 
Norwich, but with no very great results : the cold 
and lethargic temperament of the East Anglian people 
is not easily stirred to enthusiasm ; soon roused to 
hatred ; they are very slow to love, and the emotional 
in them seems to be reached only through their re- 
sentment. Wesley appears to have been shocked and 
horrified by the reception accorded him in the diocese 
of Norwich. His " Journal " is full of lamentations at 
the " perverseness " and " fickleness " of the people. 
In 1758 he writes, — "It seems the time is come 
when our labour even in Norwich will not be in vain." 
Next year he is there again. The Society had lost 
ground, and, when he preached, the " congregation 
was rude and noisy." On the 2nd February, 1761, 
he preached in the cathedral He says, " Bedlam 
broke out among the hearers," and " the unparalleled 
fickleness of the people in these parts " moved his 
righteous ire. Three years after this he tells us the 
Society had dwindled down to 174, and he writes : — 
" I have seen no people in all England or Ireland so 
changeable as this." Wesley did not think the 
Norfolk men improved upon acquaintance. At Yar- 
mouth, the Society^ in 1769, had become "shattered 
by divisions," and in 1774 a former class-leader had 
actually the audacity to call his sermon " damnable 
doctrine." At Norwich, he says, they are "unstable 
as water," and " marvellous ignorance prevails among 
the generality of people." And in 1785 he declares 

A.D 1884.] 01(}WARD! 223 

them to be " the most fickle and yet the most stub- 

Bishop Haytor was promoted to the see of London 
on the accession of George III., and Dr. Philip 
YoNGE succeeded him as bishop of Norwich. The 
new bishop was a Cambridge man. He had been 
fellow of Trinity, and was elected public orator of 
the University in 1746. Bishop Gooch had ap- 
pointed him Master of Jesus College in 1752. Next 
year he was preferred to a stall in St. Paul's, and in 
1758 he became bishop of Bristol. He held the see 
of Norwich for twenty-two years. It is said he owed 
his many preferments to the favour of the Duke of 
Newcastle, whose duchess he escorted from Hanover 
to England. Of him, too, — of his sayings or writings 
or doings, — history is silent. When he died in 1 783, 
Dr. Lewis Bagot was translated from Bristol to suc- 
ceed him, — a mild and amiable gentleman, with some 
pretension to learning, for his Warburtonian lectures 
were famous in their day. He was again translated, 
in 1790, to the see of St. Asaph, and Dr. George 
HoRNE, dean of Canterbury, was consecrated bishop 
in his room. Bishop Home was author of a com- 
mentary on the Psalms, which was held in very high 
esteem till late in the present century. There is a 
very pleasing sketch of the society at Oxford among 
the younger men in the life of Horne by Jones of 
Nayland, his chaplain and intimate friend; there 
appears to have been among them quite an enthu- 
siasm for Biblical studies. Wesley's last visit to 
Norfolk was in October, 1790; he was then in his 
eighty-eighth vear, and he was cheered by finding the 

224 NORWICH. [a.D. 169I- 

clergy of Lynn giving him a friendly welcome. At 
Diss, he applied to the rector for leave to preach in 
his church. Bishop Horne happened to be staying 
in the neighbourhood ; the rector hesitated, and put 
himself in communication with the bishop, who, when 
he had heard the case, gave just the answer we should 
have expected of him: "Mr. Wesley is a regularly 
ordained minister of the Church of England, and if 
Mr. Manning has no objection to Mr. Wesley's preach- 
ing in his church, I can have none." Bishop Horne 
was a devout and learned student when such men were 
rare, but his health and strength had begun to fail 
him before he came to Norwich. The charge which 
he had prepared for his primary visitation was never 
delivered. He was hardly a year in his diocese, and 
died in January, 1792, when he had left it to pass 
the winter elsewhere. With his successor. Bishop 
Manners Sutton, who became primate in 1805, the 
eighteenth century came to an end. 

The Georgian era in the diocese of Norwich was 
a period of such deadness as had never been known 
before, and which we may well pray may never be 
known again. When elsewhere religious life began 
to revive, and Cecil and Romaine were awakening 
the enthusiasm of multitudes by their fervent preach- 
ing in London, and Simeon had become a power in 
Cambridge, and Joseph Milner was doing the work 
of an evangelist in the North, and Henry Venn was 
exercising his great and wide influence for good, and 
Bishop Porteous was fighting a good fight and driving 
buyers and sellers from the temple of God, and show- 
ing an example of devotion and zeal, East Anglia 

A.D. 1884.] onward! 225 

Still slumbered on. Among the cathedral clergy there 
is hardly to be found a single name in the whole 
course of the eighteenth century distinguished in any 
way whatever ; not one who in his generation earned 
that highest of all distinctions, a reputation for con- 
spicuous labours and conspicuous success as a 
minister of Christ And yet it is to be hoped 
that here and there, in remote country villages, un- 
known and neglected, there were some who were 
prayerfully doing the work of evangelising their 
people; men whose names have passed away from 
memory, simply because they were labouring so 
humbly and patiently, sowing the good seed for 
the time to come. Such a one was John Venn, 
the rector of Little Dunham from 1783 to 1792, 
who has left us a touching picture of the state of 
his parish two years before he was removed from 
it to Clapharo, where the great work of his life 
was done. But what must have been the state 
of affairs in the diocese at large when Mr. Venn 
could write it down as if there were nothing extra- 
ordinary in the fact that, on his coming to Dunham 
in 1783, he was actually the first rector who had 
resided upon the benefice for seventy five years ! 

Since the day when Bishop Manners Sutton 
was translated to Canterbury in 1805, four prelates 
have presided over the diocese of Norwich. 

Henry Bathurst, from 1805 to 1837, the mild 
and lovable gentleman whose courtliness and grace 
are still remembered by the few who can look back 
to fifty years ago. 

Edward Stanley, second son of Sir John Stanley, 


226 NORWICH. [a.D. 169I- 

Bart, brother of the first Baron Stanley of Alderley, 
and father of the much more famous Arthur Penrhyn 
Stanley, dean of Westminster. Bishop Stanley had 
been for more than thirty years rector of the family 
living of Alderley in Cheshire at the date of his 
promotion, and is the only instance in the whole 
history of the diocese of a mere country parson, who 
had enjoyed no other preferment of any kind, being 
appointed bishop of the see. Nevertheless, it may 
be doubted whether any prelate since Herbert 
Losinga's days has ever wrought so marked and 
salutary a change in the East Anglian diocese as 
was eflfected during the short twelve years of his 
episcopate. It was Bishop Stanley who began in 
earnest that vigorous stirring of the dry bones which 
has never since his days been allowed to rest, which 
continued through Bishop Hind's time, and which 
has been kept up with such unflinching resolution 
by the present bishop of the see. Posterity will be 
better able than we are to estimate the force of the 
current that has been flowing, and to give to each 
several labourer the credit that is his due. The 
history of the diocese of Norwich during the nine- 
teenth century would require a volume to itself, and 
would prove to be a very suggestive and a very 
instructive volume, but it must be left to others to 
compile. There are, however, some very eloquent 
facts which speak for themselves, and which those 
who are tempted to despair of the days to come 
will do well to ponder, for history points with one 
finger to the future as she points another to the past. 
When Bishop Stanley came to the diocese in 

A.D. 1884.] ONWARD ! 227 

1837, there were upwards of 500 beneficed clergy- 
men not residing upon their cures. In twenty years 
236 of these clergy had been compelled to erect 
or repair their glebe houses and to reside in their 
parishes, and in another twenty years the total number 
of non-residents from all causes amounted to loi. 

In 1838 there were upwards of 500 parishes with 
only a single service on Sunday. Now, it is difficult 
to find a church — except where there are two churches 
in the same parish or in the immediate vicinity — 
where divine worship is not enforced twice, at least, 
in the House of God. 

The work of education during the last quarter of 
a century has been largely taken out of the hands 
of the clergy ; but for the sacrifices made by them as 
a body in the diocese, — made in the past and still 
being made now, — posterity will give them that due 
reward of wondering gratitude which the present 
generation, consumed by sectarian jealousy and 
political bitterness, withholds. 

They who remember the confirmations of sixty 
years ago tell us stories which shall not be repeated 
here. But who that has been once present at the 
celebration of that most touching rite of the Church, 
during the episcopate of the present bishop, can 
have gone home without assurance that the Church's 
work is not halting, nor the Lord's presence passed 
away from her midst ? 

Nor is the attendance of the people at the ordi- 
nances of the sanctuary without its encouragement. 
The average number of persons attending our 
churches in 1858 was about 200,000, or about one- 

Q 2 

228 NORWICH.- [a.D. 169I- 

third of the population of the diocese ; the number 
of communicants was about 30,000, or the sixth of 
the adults. Why it is no longer possible to give 
the number of worshippers in our churches since 
the later census returns, this is not the place to 

But perhaps the most remarkable proof of the 
wonderful revival of zeal and loyal Church feeling 
during the period we are dealing with is afforded 
in the immense outlay upon the building and re- 
storation of churches in East Anglia. 

Between the years 1840 and 1879, upwards of 860 
churches had been built or put into a condition of 
complete repair, at a cost of considerably more than 
nine hundred thousand pounds and this exclusive of 
the immense sums expended upon the cathedral 
since the beginning of the century. From the reply 
to the articles of inquiry issued by Bishop Pelham 
previously to his last visitation, it appeared that of the 
whole number of churches in the diocese— some of 
them of great antiquity, others vastly too large for 
the parishes, others again unsuited to the locality in 
which they are now found, — only ninety-one were 
reported in bad condition, and the work is still going 

All these are signs of life. Men that are dead do 
not work, and it is living men that we want. As long 
as we are alive in faith, and prayer, and practice, our 
work will not stop, and the Church will go on, its 
blessed influence widening and deepening from age 
to age. We of the Church of Eijgland have perse- 
cuted and been persecuted in our time. Suffering 

A.D. 1884.] .onward! 229 

has not hurt us, pillage has not destroyed us ; neither 

apathy at one time nor intolerance at another has 

quite overwhelmed us. Church rates have gone. 

The burial-places of our dead have ceased to 

be exclusively churchyards. Church schools are 

menaced ; other things may go that we would wish 

to retain. What then ? After every change that the 

timid expected would prove utterly destructive and 

the hostile exulted in as likely to prove crushing, the 

Church has only been roused to fresh activity, and 

has shown new and unexpected vigour. 


From the land of Dumah, when they looked for 
darkness only, the voice came, — " Watchman, what 
of the night?" Night! It is not night that the 
faithful watcher looks for, that would be sure to come 
to an end. 

** The morning cometh, and also the night." For 
those who love the darkness, Night ; for those who 
are awake, the dawn of a brighter day. 





The following summary, compiled, for the most part, from 
Hadden and Stubbs's ''Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents 
relating to Great Britain and Ireland/' vol. iti., gives briefly all 
that can be gathered of the ecclesiastical history of East Anglia 
(if it deserves to be called so) during the seventh, eighth, and 
ninth centuries. 

A.D. 669. Theodore visits all England and establishes Bisi as 

bishop of East Anglia. 
A.D. 673, Sept. 24. Council of Hertford, at which all the 

bishops of England attend. The Vllth Canon 

orders an Annual Synod at Clovesho. 
A.D. 680, Sept. 17. Council at Hatfield, Ealdwulf, king of 

East Anglia, consents to the assembling of the 

Council, Theodore presiding. 
A.D. 693. Letter of Pope Sergius, addressed to Ethelred, king 

of Mercia, and Ealdwulf, king of East Anglia 

[of doubtful genuineness]. 
A.D. 693. Bedwin, bishop of Elmham, signs a Mercian charter. 
A.D. 716, July. Council at Clovesho, at which HiCRDRED, 

bishop of Dunwich, and Nothberd, bishop of 

Elmham, attend. 
,A.D. 742. Council at Clovesho. Huetl^c and Eanfrith, 

both said to be bishops of Elmham, and Egelaf, 

said to be bishop of Dunwich, are reported as 

present, p. 342 ; but see note (d). 
A. D. 747, September. Council at Clovesho. Heardulf, styled 

Sacerdos Orientalium Anglorum, attends probably 

as deputy of the East Anglian bishops. 


A. I). 747. Elfwald, king of East Angles, writes to St. Boni- 
face, begging for his prayers. 

A.D. 781. Synod of Brentford, Heardred, bishop of Dun wicb, 
and Ethelwulf, bishop of Elmham, attend. 

A.D. 787. Synod at Ockley (in Surrey). Heardred, bishop 
of Dunwich, and Alheard, bishop of Elmham, 
attend [doubtful genuineness]. 

A. D. 789. Synod at Chelsea. The same two bishops attend. 

A.D. 797. Aelfhun [bishop of Dunwich] ** died at Sudbury, 
and he was buried at Dunwich, and Tidfrith was 
chosen after him." 

A.D. 797. Tidfrith, bishop of Dunwich, professes obedience 
to Archbishop Ethelheard. 

A.D. 798. Synod at Clovesho. Alheard, bishop of Elmham, 
and Tidfrith, bishop of Dunwich, attend. 

A.D. 799. Synod at Tamworth. Same bishops attend. 

a.d. 803, October 12. Synod at Clovesho. Alheard, bbhop 
of Elmham, with four priests and two deacons of 
his diocese, Tidfrith, bishop of Dunwich, with 
two abbots and four priests, attend. 

A.D. 805, August. Synod at Ockley (?). The same two bishops. 

A.D. 816, July 27. Synod at Chelsea. Tidfrith, bishop of 
Dunwich, and SiBBA, bishop of Elmham. 

A.D. 816. Profession of obedience by Hunferth [or Hum* 
berht ?] to Archbishop Wulfred. 

A.D. 824. October 30. Synod at Clovesho. Weremund, bishop 
of Dunwich, and Humberht, of Elmham, attend. 

A.D. 825. Synod at Clovesho. Humberht, of Elmham, and 
Wilred, bishop electy of Dunwich. 
[Mr. Kemble, in the "Proceedings of the Archaeo- 
logical Institute" for 1847, p. 48, has added to these 
notices the following.] 

A.D. 825. Signature of Wilred, "without the electusy^ indi- 
cating the probability of his having received con- 
secration from Wulfred this year. 

A.D. 839. Signatures of Wilred and Humberht. 

[Mr. Kemble adds, "My opinion is, that after the 
accession of ^^thelwulf [king of the West Saxons] 


East Anglia had but little communication with the 
other English kingdoms .... until the new con- 
solidation of England by ^Ethelstan, when Elmham 
agsLin took its place among the English sees.''] 



Excavations were made at the east end of the Cathedral 
in 187 1, and the foundation of Bishop Calthorp's Chapel 
exposed, together with those certainly prepared for a Lady 
Chapel in Bishop Herbert's time. These latter were found 
to have been laid for walls and piers, varying from five to 
nine feet in thickness » I am strongly of opinion that Bishop 
Herbert never carried out his design of building the Lady 
Chapel on these foundations, and that the Cathedral never was 
furnished with such a chapel till Bishop Calthorpe supplied 
the deficiency. 


The recent publication ot Archbishop Peckham's Register in 
the Rolls Series has furnished us with some curious details of 
the primate's visitation of the Norfolk religious houses in the 
winter of 1 280-1. The primate appears to have started about 
the I2th of November, 1280, for we find him at Wymondham — 
then a cell at St. Alban's Abbey — on the 17th, writing to the 
Bishop of Ely on the subject of the less frequent use of the 
Athanasian Creed which the Benedictines had attempted to 
bring about some three years before. Eight days after this he 
appears at Thorpe, near Norwich, where the bishop had a 
house, and it seems probable that, in the interval between his 
being at Wymondham and Thorpe, Peckham had visited the 
great Benedictine monastery at Norwich and the nunnery of 
Carrow. On the 6th of December he arrived at the Abbey of 


St. Benet's Hulm, staying there at least two days, correcting 
abuses and *^qu£E corrigenda erant" (Bart. Cotton de Rege 
Edw. I., p. 161). On the 13th of December he was at Gimlng- 
ham, in the north of the county, where there was a deer park, 
and where at this very time a dispute was going on about the 
tithe of venison in the said park. The archbishop must have 
arrived here not later than the 12 th, for the 13th was a very 
busy day with him, and he transacted some important business. 
From this date till the 4th of January he disappears. He ntay 
have been spending Christmas with the king, who was at 
Burgh, some forty miles off, or he niay have proceeded to visit 
the religious houses on the northern coast of Norfolk, Bromholm 
and Weybum, and thence on to the far more important priories 
at Binham and Walsingham, where Edward I. more than once 
was hospitably received. On the 4th of January, 1 28 1, he was 
at Coxford, ten miles south-west of Walsingham, where was a 
priory of Augustinian canons who appear to have been living 
a pleasant, jovial sort of life, doing no particular harm, but 
doing no good. The prior was an easy-going old gentleman, 
who kept no accounts, let his canons do as they pleased, and 
liked going out with a number of dogs at his heels. Moreover, 
prior and canons, one and all, had been led astray by an evil- 
disposed person named John of Hunstanton, who had actually 
tempted them all to give themselves up to the seductive game 
of chess, and this intoxication must be put a stop to, even if it 
came to three days and nights on bread and water. On the 
5th the archbishop moved off to another Augustinian house at 
Creak, this time riding due north about ten miles, where he 
induced the abbot to resign on the ground of old age and un- 
fitness for-his ofhce. Three days after he is at Docking, where, 
in his manor of Southmere, John Lord Lovel at this time was 
the great man and kept up some state, and almost certainly 
entertained the archbishop and his retinue. The day after his 
arrival at Lord Lovel*s there was some threat of opposition to 
the archiepiscopal visitation, for, on January loth, Peckham, 
with his chaplains and secretaries, went to the church of 
Docking, and there fulminated a sentence of excommunication 
upon all who should dare to throw any obstacle in his way. 


From Docking he proceeded to Flitcham, a cell of Walsing- 
ham, eight or nine miles in a southerly direction, and thence, 
riding along the old Roman causeway called the Pedder's Road, 
arrived at Castleacre Priory, where he was writing letters on the 
15th. Castleacre was another of the religious houses at which 
kings were wont to receive hospitality, and from Castleacre as a 
centre the archbishop may easily have carried on his visitation 
of the curious assemblage of monasteries in the valley of the 
Nar, viz., Westacre, Pentney, Shouldham, and Marham. On 
the 20th of January he was at Gaywood, near L3mn, another 
manor-house of the bishops of Norwich, and by this time the 
visitation of the *' religious" was nearly complete —nearly but 
not quite, for there still remained the Premonstratensian abbey 
at West Dereham, in the low ground near Stoke Ferry, and 
the five conventual establishments at Thetford. In January we 
find the archbishop at Dereham. 

From this brief attempt at an itinerarium of Peckham*s 
visitation of Norfolk, — for I follow him no further, — it is abun- 
dantly clear that he found the monasteries, on the whole, in a 
creditable state, very little to find fault with, and very little to 
reform. If there had been any flagrant abuses, we should have 
been sure to hear of them, for Peckham was a most zealous 
Franciscany^^Vir, and the last man in the world to show any 
mercy to monks who had gone wrong. 



A.D. 1 263-1287. Gilbert "Hammensis" [query, Hamarensis, 

in Norway?]. Stubbs's Registr., p. 143; 

1333-1346. Senediot '* Cardicensis " [{. ^., Cardica under 
Larissa]. I have not met with his name in any 
of the Bishops' registers of this date. Bishop 
Stubbs sa3rs he was suffragan of Norwich and 


1340-1350- Bobert Hyntleshami '* Sauastopolensis/' 

which Blomefield curiously misread as Sanasco* 
polensis, occurs at this period as suffragan to 
Bishop Bateman. Wharton calls him Seleuco- 
vallensis, which is probably Seleuco Belus in 
Syria, under Apamea. About the same time 
it is said that — 
John Pascal acted as suffragan to Bishop Bate- 
man. He was a Suffolk man and Carmelite 
friar at Ipswich. Pitts says that Benedict XI. made 
him Bishop of Scutari ; this would put his con- 
secration some time between 1334 and 1352. In 
June, 1347, he became Bishop of Llandaff, though 
Stubbs seems to doubt the identity of the two 

.1372. Bobert " Archiliensis " [probably Archelais in Pales- 
tine, under Caesarea] occurs this year as ordaining 
for Bishop Spencer. Fourteen years afterwards he is 
found as a suffragan of Hereford. 

1384. Thomas Lodowis, Bishop of Killala, in Ireland 
[" Aladensis *']. I find him ordaining for Bishop 
Spencer in 1385 and 1386, and I have little doubt 
that he was the Thomas " Scutariensis," who ordained 
4th June, 1384. He was a Dominican friar. Cotton 
says he died in 1388. 

1393. John Leioesteri Archbishop of Smyrna. He 
ordained almost continuously for Bishops Spencer, 
ToTTiNGTON, CouRTENAY, and Wakering, from 
May, 1393, till December, 1423. He was rector of 
Threxton in 1400, and appears to have been a Car- 

1424. Bobert Windel. He ordains for Bishop Wakering 
in December, 1424, under the title of Bishop of 
£mly, in Ireland ('*Imlicensis"); but, as it appears 
that he was '* provided" for this see only and 
never was put in possession, I conjecture that he 
was furnished with another title, and that he was 
the same whom Bishop Alnewick appointed his 


suffragan in 1426 as Robert Gradensis. He continued 
to ordain in the diocese of Norwich as late as March, 
1450. Thomas Sorope, sometimes called Thomas de 
Bradley. He was a very notable personage in his day, 
and renowned for his great learning and the rigour of his 
asceticism. Originally a Benedictine monk, he put him- 
self under the Carmelite rule at Norwich. Eugene IV. 
made him Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland, in 1446, 
and subsequently sent him on some legation to Rhodes. 
He resigned his bishopric and returned to Norwich, 
and in 1454 was presented by Edmund, Lord Grey 
of Hastings, to the rectory of Sparham. Bishop 
I.YHART appointed him his suffragan 12th September, 
1450. He continues to ordain in the palace chapel, 
or in the Church of the Carmelites, down to February, 
1472. After Bishop Lyhart's death his name is 
no longer found. There is much about him in Pitts's 
** Angl. Script.," p. 681, which is chiefly derived from 
the ** Speculum Carmelitarum." See also Llomefield, 
iv., 419, and Cotton, "Fasti Hib.*' 

1475. Florence Wulley, Bishop of Clogher, to which 
bishopric he was consecrated, 27th November, 1475* 
He was collated to the rectory of Merston, Norfolk, 
1 2th March, 1478, and presented to the vicarage of 
Codenham, Suffolk, 9th July, 1 48 1. He died in 
1500, at the priory of Snape, in Suffolk. His will is 
at Canterbury, and is extremely interesting. It is 
curious that Cotton makes no mention of him in the 
** Fasti Hib.," that Brady did not know his surname, 
and that Blomefield falls into a blunder in the only 
place where he notices him (ix., 427). 

1502. Edmund Lyohfieldy Bishop of Chalcedon. He 
appears as Prior of the House of Augustinian Canons 
at Flitcham, in 1498. He was Rural Dean of Norwich 
and Taverham in 1503. I find him ordaining for 
Bishop Nix in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral, 
2 1st May, 1502. 


1531. John Underwood, Bishop of Chalcedon. He was 
a Norwich man born and a Franciscan friar. Com- 
menced D.D. at Cambridge, 1501. He was presented 
to the rectories of North Creake and of Eccles-by-the- 
Sea, Norfolk, in 1505. Acting for Bishop Nix in 
1 53 1 as suffragan, his duty was to degrade Bilney after 
his condemnation. I can find no evidence whatever 
to support the assertion of BlomeBeld that he was 
cruel as a persecutor. Foxe's silence when he had 
every temptation to publish such a character of him is 
strongly against any such a supposition. He died in 
1 54 1, and was buried in St. Andrew's Church, 
Of John Salisbury I have given some account in my 
"One Generation of a Norfolk House," chap, ii., 
n. 17. I find him ordaining for Bishop Parkhurst as 
late as Aug. 13, 1 573, i»e., a month before his death. 

or Thomas Edwardston or Thomas Beding- 

feld I know no more than Blomefield has told us. I 
have been surprised not to meet with either of them in 
the Registers of the Diocese. 
Of Thomas Manning, Bishop of Ipswich (see supray 
chap. X.), I do not find that he ever acted as a 
suffragan in the Diocese. 



A.D. 1536. ** Articles to stablyshe Christen 


(o) Use of Images retained. 

(j3) Saints " ...advancers of our prayers." 

(y) Certain Rites and Ceremonies**... have power... 

to stir and lift up cur minds unto God..." 
(^) Purgatory, prayers for dead retained. 


A.D. 1537. ** The Institution of a Christian Han.'' 

(a) Seven Sacraments retained. 

(j3) Images retained. 

(7) " . . . Christian men should pray for souls departed. * ' 

A.n. 1539. The Six Articles. 

(a) Transubstantiation set forth. 

ip) Communion in both kinds declared unnecessary. 

(r) Priests may not marry. 

(S) Vows of chastity to be observed, 
(e) Private masses to be continued. 
(?) Auricular confession to be retained. 

A.D. 1539. ** A Necessary Doctrine and Erudition 

for any Christian Man." 

The doctrine in this work agrees in the main with 
that of the Six Articles ; i.e,f it leans to the 
" Old " rather than to the " New Learning." 
A.D. 1540. Proclamation ordering 

a Bible to be provided 

by the curate and parishioners. 

A.D. 1543. The Bible forbidden. 

A.D. 1547. Injunction directing that 

the Bible should be set up 

in every church. 
(July). First Book of HomilieS published. 

A.D. 1548 (March). Commimion Service published. 

All Images to be removed. 

(November.) Clergy allowed to marry. 
A.D. 1549. The English Liturgy appears. 
A.D. 1 55 1. The XLII. Articles. 
A.D. 1562. The XXXVIII. Articles. 
A.D. 1571, The XXXIX. Articles. 



It was not until the 9th October, 1646, that both Houses of 
Parliament ordained that the **Name, Title, Stile, and Dignity 
.... of all bishops .... within the Kingdom of England 
and Dominion of Wales .... should be wholly abolished and 
taken away " . . . . not only their lands, but their ** Charters, 
Deeds, Books, Writings, &c. were vested in trustees for the 
payment of the just and necessary debts of the Kingdom." On 
the 1 6th November following, an ordinance was passed for the 
sale of all their property, and to raise ;f 20O,cx)O by way of loan. 
On the 30th April, 1649, precisely the same course was taken with 
the dean and chapter and their lands, except that in the latter case 
all leases granted since the ist December, 1621, were declared 
void. The plundering of the cathedrals, the unmeasured robbery 
and violence, the pitiless persecution of the "delinquent clergy,'' 
which had gone on for seven or eight years before these acts 
were passed, were mere instances of mob law, but they were 
all condoned, and the extent and the havoc we shall never 
know. In 1646, the bishop's palace at Winchester, the deanery, 
and eight prebends' houses were actually pulled down and the 
materials sold. At Norwich the destruction seems to have been 
less sweeping only because there was less to destroy. 




Herbert Losinga. — Consecrated 1091 . Died July 22, 1 1 19. 
EvERARD DE MONTGOMERY, Archdeacon of Salisbury. — Cons. 

June 12, 1 12 1. Retired, 1 145. 
William Turbe, Prior of Norwich. — Cons. 1146. Died 1174. 
JOHN OF Oxford, Dean of Salisbury. — Cons. Dec. 14, 11 75. 

Died June 2, 1200. 
John de Grey, Archeacon of Gloucester. — Cons. Sept. 24, 

1200. Died Oct. 18, 12 14. 
Pandulph Masca, Papal Legate. — Cons. May, 1222. Died 

Thomas de Blumville. — Cons. Dec. 20, 1226. Died Aug. 

16, 1236. 
William de Ralegh.— Cons. Sept. 25, 1239. Translated to 

Winchester, 1244. 
Walter Calthorp or de Suffield.— Cons. Feb. 19, 1245. 

Died May 20, 1257. 
Simon de Watton.— Cons. March 10, 1258. Died Jan. 2, 

Roger de Skerning, Prior of Norwich. — Cons. Sept. 19, 

1266. Died Jan. 22, 1278. 
William de Middleton, Archdeacon of Canterbury. — Cons. 

May 29, 1278. Died Sept. i, 1288. 
Ralph de Walpole, Archdeacon of Ely. — Cons. March 20, 

1289. Translated to Ely, 1299. 
John Salmon, Prior of Ely. — Cons. Nov. 15, 1299. Died 

July 2, 1325. 


Robert Baldok, Archdeacon of Middlesex. — Confirmed in 

the see, Aug. 11, Resigned Sept. 3, 1325. 
William Ayermin. — Cons. Sept. 15, 1325. Died March 27, 

Antony Bek, Dean of Lincoln. — Cons. March 30, 1337. Died 

Dec 19, 1343. 
William Bateman, Dean of Lincoln. — Cons. May 23, 1344. 

Died Jan. 6, 1355. 
Thomas Percy. — Cons. Jan 3, 1356. Died Aug. 8, 1369. 
Henry Despenser. — Cons. April 20, 1370. Died Aug. 23, 

Alexander Tottington, Prior of Norwich. — Cons. Oct. 23, 

1407. Died April 28, 1413. 
Richard Courtenay, Dean of Wells. — Cons. Sept. 17, 1413, 

Died Sept. 15, 1415. 
John Wakertng, Archdeacon of Canterbury. — Cons. May 31, 

1416. Died April 9, 1425. 
William Alnewick, Archdeacon of Salisbury. — Cons. Aug. 

18, 1426. Translated to Lincoln, Sept. 1436. 
Thomas Brown, Bishop of Rochester. — Translated to Norwich, 

Sept. 1436. Died Dec. 6, 1445. 
W^alter Lyhart, Provost of Oriel. — Con^. Feb. 27, 1446. 

Died May 17, 1472. 
James Goldwell, Dean of Salisbury. — Cons. Oct. 4, 1472. 

Died Feb. 15, 1499. 
Thomas Jane, Dean of the Chapel Royal. — Cons. Oct. 20, 

1499. Died Sept. 1500. 
Richard Nix, Archdeacon of Wells. — Cons. April 18, 1501. 

Died Jan. 14, 1536. 
William Rugg, Abbot of Hulm.—Cons. June 11, 1536. 

Resigned 1550. 
Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, — Translated Aprils 

1550. Translated to Ely, 1554. 
John Hopton, Confessor to Queen Mary.— Cons. Oct. 28, 

1554. Died 1558. 
John Parkhurst.— Cons. Sept. i, 1560. Died Feb. 2, 157.5. 
Edmund Freake, Bishop of Rochester. — Translated Feb. 14, 

1575. Translated to Worcester, 1584. 

245! NORWICH. 

Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Peterborough. — Trans. Jan., 

1585. Died May 7, 1594. 
William Redman, Archd. of Canterbury. — Cons. Jan. 12, 

1595. Died Sept. 25, 1602. 
John Jegon, Master of C.C.C.C. — Cons. Feb. 20, 1603. Died 

. March 13, 1618. 
John Overall, Bbhop of Lichfield. — Trans. Oct., 161 8. Died 

May 12, 1619. 
Samuel Harsnet, Bishop of Chichester. — Trans. Sept., 1619. 

Trans, to York, 1628. 
Francis White, Bishop of Carlisle. — Trans. Feb., 1629. 

Trans, to Ely, Dec, 1631, 
Richard Corbet, Bishop of Oxford. — ^Trans. May, 1632. 

Died July 28, 1635. 
Matthew Wren, Bishop of Hereford. — Trans. Dec., 1635. 

Trans, to Ely, 1638. 
Richard Montague, Bishop of Chichester. — Trans. May, 

1638. Died April 13, 1641. 
Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter. —Trans. Dec, 1641. Died 

Sept. 8, 1656. 
Edward Reynolds, Dean of Christ Church.— Cons. Jan. 16, 

1 66 1. Died July 28, 1676. 
Anthony Sparrow, Bishop of Exeter. — Trans. Nov., 1676. 

Died May 18, 1685. 
William Lloyd, Bishopof Peterborough.— Trans. July, 1685. 

Ejected 1691. 
John Moore, Prebend of Ely.— Cons. July 5, 1691. Trans. 

to Ely, July, 1707. 
Charles Trimnel, Archd. of Norfolk.— Cons. Feb. 8, 1708. 

Trans, to Winchester, Aug., 1721. 
Thomas Green, Archd. of Canterbury.— Cons. Oct. 8, 1721. 

Trans, to Ely, Sept., 1723. 
John Leng, Chaplain to George I. — Cons. Nov. 3, 1723. 

Died Oct. 26, 1727. 
William Baker, Bishop of Bangor.- Trans. Dec, 1727. 

Died Dec 4, 1732. 
Robert Butts, Dean of Norwich.— Cons. Feb. 25, 1733. 

Trans, to Ely, May, 1738. 


Thomas Gooch, Bishop of Bristol. — Trans. Oct., 1738. Trans. 

to Ely, 1748. 
Samuel Lisle, Bishop of St. Asaph.— Trans. April, 1748. 

Died Oct. 3, 1749. 
Thoma's Haytor, Archd. of York.— Cons. Dec. 3, 1749. 

Trans, to London, Oct., 1761. 
Philip Yonge, Bishop of Bristol,— Trans. Nov. 1761. Died 

April 23, 1783. 
Lewis Bagot, Bishop of Bristol.— Trans. June, 1783. Trans. 

to St. Asaph, April, 1790. 
George Horne, Dean of Canterbury. — Cons. June 6, 1790. 

Died Jan. 17, 1792. 
Charles Manners Sutton, Dean of Peterborough.— Cons. 

April 8, 1792. Trans, to Canterbury, Feb., 1805. 
Henry Bathurst, Prebend of Oxford.— Cons, April 28, 1805. 

Died April 5, 1837. 
Edward Stanley, Rector of Alderley.— Cons. June 11, 1837. 

Died Sept. 6, 1849. 
Samuel Hinds, Dean of Carlisle.— Cons. Dec. 2, 1849 

Resigned 1857. 
John Thomas Peliiam. — Cons. June 11, 1857. 

R 2 


Abingdon Abbey, 31 
Acci, bishop of Dunwich, 19 
Adrian V., Pope, see Ottobon 
i^gelmar, see Aylmer 
iElfgar, bishop of East Anglia, 


^Ifhun, bishop of Dunwich, 


i^lfsy, abbot of Peterborough, 

iElfwin, bishop of East Anglia, 

34, 35 

iEthelbert, King, 8 

^thelhere, brother to King 
Anna, 15 

-^thelred, king of Wessex, 27 

i^thelwine, friend of monks, 
founds Ramsey Abbey, 31 

-/Ethel wald, bishop of Winches- 
ter, leads the movement for 
revival of monasticism, 30 ; 
establishes Benedictine rule, 

Alban, St., martyred a.d. 


Aldwulf, 17 ; among signa- 
tories at council of Haldeld, 
17 n.; his daughters, 17 

Alexander II., Pope (Anselm 
of Lucca), 42 

Alfred the Great, king of 
Wessex, 27 ; wars with the 
Danes, 27 

Alheard, bishop of Elmham, 


Alnewick, William, 146- 

Angles landed in Britain, 4 ; 

dispossessed the original 

inhabitants, 7 
Anna, king of East Anglia, 

killed in Penda*s invasion, 15 
Anselm, Archbishop, 41-52 ; 

banished, 58 
Arches, Court of, reform, lOi 
Aries, council of, British there, 

Arthur, Thomas, 158, 159 
Arundel, Archbishop, 142 
Athelstan, King (Guthorm), 28 
Augustine, 8, 21 
Ayermin, Adam, 115 
Ayermin, Richard, 114 
Ayermin, William, 111-114 
Ayers, Thomas, 157 
Aylmer or ^Egelmar, bishop 

of Elmham, 35 

Bacon, Roger, 127 
Baconsthorpe, John of, 127 
Bagot, Lewis, 223 
Baker, William, 220 
Baldok, Robert, 111-113 
Baldwin, Abbot, 43, 44 
Barnes, Robert, 158 
Bateman, William, 117, 

Bathurst, Henry, 225 
Baxter, Richard, 205 



Beaufeu, Wiluam de, 
bishop of Thetford, 48-50 

Becket, see Thomas ^, Arch- 

Bedcricsworth Monastery, 
afterwards St. Edmondsbury, 

Bedingfield, Thomas, Suffra- 
gan, 237 
Bedwin, bishop of Elmham, 

19, 230 

Bek, Anthony, 115- 116 

Benedict, "Cardicensis," Suf- 
fragan, 234 

Benedict XI., Pope, 132 

Benedict, St., rule of, came 
to Britain, 14 ; introduced 
into monasteries, 31 

Benet's Hulm, St. , Abbey, 167 ; 
founded by Cnut, 39 ; never 
dissolved, 168 

Bertgils or Boniface, Bishop, 14 

Bigod, Roger, 48 

Bigot, Hugh, excommunicated, 
71 ; his revolt, 74 

Bilney, Thomas, 158, 159, 160 

Bingey, Thomas, 157 

Bishoprics bought and sold, 
49 ; kept vacant in Queen 
Elizabeth's time, 176 

Bisi, bishop of Dunwich, 19, 

Black Death in Norfolk, 118- 

Bloet, Robert, bishop of Lin- 
coln, 53 

Blumville, Thomas de, 84 

Boat-race between the monks 
of Ely and Ramsey, 1 1 «. 

Boniface or Bertgils, Bishop, 

Boniface of Savoy, Archbishop, 

Boniface IX., Pope, 138 
Brancaster, 5 
Bretton, Lawrence, 201 

Bretwalda, chief ruler over 

England, 8 
Breydon, "Water, 12 
Bridge, William, 188 n. 
Brie Nunnery, 16 
Britain made Roman province, 


Browne, Robert, 203 

Brown, Thomas, Bishop, 

Bungay Nunner)' founded, 74 

Burdett, George, 188 n. 

Burgh, 5 

Bury St. Edmunds, see Ed- 
munds, St., Abbey 

Butts, Robert, 220 

CiCSAR, Julius,lands in Britain, 

Calamy, Edward, 216 

Calthorp, Walter (Suf- 
field), 90-92 

Carrow Nunnery founded, 74 ; 
Bishop Walter consecrated 
at, 91 

Castle Acre Priory founded, 
48; Edward L at, 108; 
income, 167 

Castleton, William, first dean 
of Norwich, 166 

Castor, 5 

Cathedra], Norwich : founda- 
tion stone laid, 55 ; building, 
57f 59; repaired and re- 
opened, 103 ; belfry blown 
down, 131 ; clerestory of 
choir built, 132 ; works at, 
138 ; additions to, 144, 153 ; 
fire in, 153 ; riot in, 174; pil- 
laged, 198; Lady Chapel at, 

Celestine V., Pope, 107 

Chaplains in private families, 

Charities dissolved, 169 

Charter, the Great, 85 



Chelles Nunnery, 16 
Christianity, early, in Britain, 

Christianity disappeared with 

departure of Romans and 

coming of East Anglians, 6 

Church-building by clergy in 
eleventh century, 40 ; in 
Bishop Herfast's time, 47 ; 
in Bisnop Herbert's, 62 

Churches in Norwich, their 
condition in the end of the 
sixteenth century, 180 

Clagget, Nicholas, 216 

Clagget, William, 216 

Clarendon, Council of, 71 

Clarke, Samuel, 217 

Claudius, Emperor, 3 

Clement VI., Pope, 117 

Clergy : builders of churches, 
40 ; their celibacy, 32, 66 ; 
married, ejected, 171 ; of the 
Commonwealth at Norwich, 
207, 214; ejected under 
Commonwealth, 199, 201 ; 
Presbyterian, ejected, 205 ; 
condition and social status 
in the tenth century, 41 ; 
thirteenth centui-y, 108 ; in 
the fourteenth century in 
towns, 126; in country, 
127, 128; in the fifteenth 
century, 155 ; in the seven- 
teenth century, 181 ; their 
work of education in the 
seventh century effective, 
18 ; their numbers in the 
fourteenth century, 120 ; 
resignation of, 145 ; paro- 
chial or secular, robbed by 
r^lars, no, 125, 145; 
their wills, 155 

Clovesho, synod held at, 21 

Clugny, abbey of, 43 

Cnut, King, founded abbey at 
St. Benet's Hulm, 34, 39 

Cnobbesburgh Monastery, 
founded by Fursey, once 
Garianonum, now Burgh 
Castle, 13 

Coins, Roman, in Norwich, 5 

Corpus Christi College, Cam* 
bridge, founded, 123 

Colleges dissolved, 169 

CoUings, Dr., 207 

Communion-table, removal of, 


Conventicle Act, 207 
Convocation, 1640, 192 
Corbet, Miles, 195 
Corbet, Richard, 183 
Council of St. Paul's, 147 

140, 143 

Cox, Richard, 172 

Crofts, John, dean of Norwich, 

Cromwell, Oliver, 204 
Cromwell, Richard, 202 
Crowland destroyed by Danes, 

26; revived, 31 
Crusade, first, 55 ; second, 78 

Damiani, Peter, 42 

Danes : land in Dorsetshire, 
23; settle in East Anglia, 
ravage and slay, 24 ; attack 
monasteries and churches, 
25 ; at Ipswich, 33 ; their 
last raid, 46 

Deodred, or Theodred, 
bishop of London and Elm- 
ham, 29 

Despenser, Henry le, 133- 

Devil's Dyke, 8 

Dicul, 12 

Disinherited, the, followers ot 
Simon de Montfort, 94' 

Druids massacred, 3 

Dunstan, archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 30, 39 



Dunwich, first bishopric in 
East Anglia, ii ; diocese 
divided, 19 

Eadbald, King, 8 

Eadburgh, Abbess, 17 

£ AN FRITH, bishop of Elm- 
ham, 230 

East Anglia : its early limits, 
4; its natural boundaries, 
7 ; its chiefs resisted the 
foundation of religious 
establishments, 14 ; its 
bishops attend national sy- 
nods, 22 ; their names dis- 
appear with the coming of 
the Danes, 22 

Edmunds, St., Abbey, 39, 43, 
^f 93» 95 f takes its name 
from the king, 25 ; re- 
organised, 31, 32 ; Parlia- 
ment at it, 107 ; dispute 
with Bishop Bateman, 117; 
its revenue, 167 

Edmund the Confessor, 37 

Edmund, King, killed by 
Danes, 25 

Edward I. oppresses the 
clergy, 107; at Castleacre, 

VI. dies, 170 

Edwardston, Thomas, Suf- 
fragan, 237 

Edwin, Prince, Bretwalda, 9 

Egelaf, Bishop, 230 

Elfwald, King, 231 

Elizabeth, Queen, excommuni- 
cated, 177 

Elmham : new centre of dio- 
cese on its subdivision, 19 ; 
see of East Anglian bishops, 
28 ; Bishop Aylmer, 35 ; 
^LFRIC died 1038, 35 ; last 
bishop, Herfast, 36 

Ely Monastery: founded by 

Etbeldreda, 16 ; destroyed 
by Danes, 26 ; revived, 31 

Eorpwald, King, 9 

Ethel berga, abbess of Brie, 16 

Ethelburga, abbess of Hack- 
ness, 17 

Etheldreda, founder of EIy» 

15. 16 
Ethelhere, King, 16 
Ethelred, King, 230 
Ethelwulf, bishop of Elmham, 

Eugenius IV., Pope, 150 
Evesham, battle of, 94 
Exemptions, 43 

Fairfax, Dean, 213 

Felix, the Burgundian, came 
to Archbishop Honorius, 
bishop of Dunwich, 1 1 ; his 
fame in other lands, 12 

Ferentino, John de, 87, 88 

Five-mile Act, 207 

Fitzralph, Richard, arch- 
bishop of Armagh, 130 

Flemings, the, at Norwich, 

Floods in Norfolk, 104 

Freake, Edmcjnd, 175 

French fleet lands in Suffolk, 

Freckenham, Suffolk, 44 
Friars : in East Anglia, 125 ; 
evangelisers of towns, 61, 
126 ; learning, 128 ; num- 
bers at the suppression, 
167 ; settle in Norfolk, 84, 

Frith, John, 158 
Fulburn, Stephen, archbishop 

ofTuam, 103 
Fullan, companion of Fursey, 

Fursey, an Irish • missionar}', 

came to Felix with Fullan, 



Ultan, Gobban» Dicul, 
founded Cnobbesburgh, 12 

Garianonum, 13 
Gatford, Lionel, 200 
Geoffrey de Clive, Lishop of 

Hereford, 64 
Gilbert Hamensis, Suffragan, 

Glanville, Ranulph de, 7S 

Glastonbury Abbey, 31 

Gobban, companion of Fursey, 

GoLDWELL, James, 132, 153 
Gonville, Edmund, 122 
GoocH, Thomas, Bishop, 221 
Goodwin, Nathaniel, 2CX) 
Green, Thomas, 219, 220 
Gregory VII., Pope, 44 

X., Pope, 100 

Grey, John de. Bishop, 

episcopate of, 80-84 

Walter de, archbishop 

of York, 82 

Grimketel, bishop of Elm- 
ham, 35 

Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, 

Guilds plundered, 169 

Guthorm, baptised by name 
Athelstan, 27, 28 

Hackness Abbey, 17 
Haford, John, nominated 

as bishop, 146 
Hall, Joseph, 192, 201 
Harsnet, Samuel, 182 
Hawkwood, Sir John, 132 
Haytor, Thomas, 221-223 
Heardred, bishop of Dun- 

wich, 231 
Heardulf, Bishop, 230 
Hemenhall, Thomas de: 

his appointment quashed, 
1 14 ; made bishop of Wor- 
cester, 115 

Henry II. at Norwich Priory, 

IIL, 85; at Norwich, 

98; died, 100 

Hereswith, 16 

Herfast, Bishop : first fo- 
reigner in East Anglian 
diocese, last bishop of £lm- 
ham, 36; his episcopate, 
41-47 «. 

Hermyte, Isabella, story of, 

Hertford, council of, 21 

Hickes, George, Isishop of 

Thetford, 213 
Hicklingy priory of, 168 
Hilda founds Whitby Abbey, 

Hinds, Samuel, 226 
Hoadley, Benjamin, 218 

John, 218 

Samuel, 218 

Honorius, Archbishop, 10 
HoPTON, John, 171 
HoRNE, George, 223, 224 
Hoxne, 29 
Huetlsec, Bishop, 230 

HUMBERHT, Bishop, 23 1 

Hunferth, Bishop, 231 
Hwaetburga, Abbess, 17 
Hyntlesham, Robert, Suf- 
fragan, 235 

Independents, rise of the, 

Ingham, priory of, 165 
Innocent III., Pope, 85 

VI., Pope, 123 

VIL, Pope, 138 

Ipswich Holy Trinity Church 

built, 79 
Isabella, Queen, 112 



Ithamar, bishop of Rochester, 

Jane, Thomas, 154 
Jeffcry, Dr., 216 
Jegon, John, 178, 181 

Thomas, Archdeacon, 179 

Jerome of Ascoli, Poj^e 

Nicholas IV., 106 
Jews, persecution of the, 6y 
Jocelin de Brakelond, 63 
John, King, 83, 85 
John of Oxford, one of 

Thomas k Becket*s escort, 

73 ; his early life, 76 ; his 

episcopate, 76-80 
John XXII., Pope, 117 

KiLWARBY, Robert, arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, 100 

Lambert, John, 158 
Lanfranc, Archbishop, 41 ; 

dispute with Herfast, 44- 

46; dies, 50 
Langton, Simon, 82 
Latimer, Hugh, 159 
Laud, Archbishop, 184, 18S, 

Laurence, Archbishop, 8 
Laymen holding preferment, 


learning, men of, in East 

Anglia, 127 
Leicester, John, Suffragan, 


Lecturers worried, 187, 188 

Leng, John, 220 

Leofwin, Bishop, 42 

Lych field, Edmund, Suffragan, 

Limesey, Robert de, bishop of 

Lichfield, 64 
Lisle, Samuel, 221 

Litester, John, his revolt, 

135; is hanged, 136 
Lloyd, William, 210-212 
William, bishop of Wor- 
cester, 210 n, 
Lodowis, Thomas, Sufiragan, 

Lollards, the, 141, 144; perse- 
cution of, 146, 149 
London, council at, 95 
Losing A, Herbert de. 
Bishop : early life, 50, 51 ; 
consecrated, 51 ; his staff 
taken from him, 53 ; bishop 
of Norwich, 54 ; his episco- 
pate, 55-^4 
Lydgate, Thomas, 155 
Lyhart, William, 151-153 
Lyng, Richard, his bene- 
factions, 123 
Lynn, church at, founded, 59 

Manning, Thomas, bishop 
of Ipswich, 168, 237 

Manners Sutton, Charles, 

Marham, nunnery of, 165 

Martin, Dr., 21^ 

— v., Pope, 143 

Mass restored, 171 

Middleton, Elias, 102 

Ralph, 102 

Thomas, 102 

Walter, 102 

Middleton, William de, 
101-105 ; family of, 102 

Monasteries : side with pope, 
75 ; aggression of, 79, 80, 
81; their decline, 130; 
during Black Death in Nor- 
folk, 119; endowment of 
those in East Anglia, 167 ; 
their rule uniform under 
iClhelwald, 31 ; their sup- 
pression under the Danes, 



29, 30 ; second suppression, 
162, 167 ; visited by Arch- 
bishop Peckham, 232-234 

Monks, educational work effec- 
tive in seventh century, 18 ; 
of the fourteenth century, 129 

Montague, Richard, 191- 

Montague, Simon, bishop of 
Ely, 115 

Montgomery, Everard de, 
65, 66-68 

Montgomery, George, dean of 
Norwich, 179 

Moore, John, 215-219 

Mortmain, statute of, 103 

Nicholas IV., Pope, 106 

Nix, Richard, 156-161 

Nonconformists in diocese, 176 

Nonjurors, 211, 212 

NoTHBERD, bishop of Elmham, 

Norfolk : its harbours in early 
times, 5 ; reformers at Cam- 
bridge, 158 

Norrice, Thomas, 157 

Norwich : Castle besieged, 46- 
70; CaM^</r^7/, Lady Chapel, 
91, 92 ; destroyed, 180 ; 
Chapter House destroyed, 
180; sacked, 83, 95; dio- 
cesan synod at, 148 ; diocese 
in Queen Elizabeth's time, 
177 ; see plundered, 168 ; 
Palace, 180, 209 ; Priory, 
conflict with citizens, 97 ; 
disputes with bishops, 134; 
fire at, 73; infirmary 
built, 79; heavily taxed, 
107; library destroyed, 180; 
monastery dissolved, 165 

Oates, Titus, 210 
Odo, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 28 

Oldcastle, Sir John, 142 
Ordinations, numbers at, 140, 

144, 151 
Oswy founds Peterborough, 26 
Otho, 86, 88 
Ottobon de Fiesco, 87, 88, 

95. 100 
Overall, John, Bishop, 182 

Pandulph, Masca, Bishop, 

Parishes, number in diocese, 

Parkhurst, John, 172-174 

Parliaments of Charles I., 185 

Parochial system breaks down 

in the towns, 126 

Pascal, John, Suffragan, 235 

Paston letters, 152 

Pecock, bishop of Chichester, 

Penda, king of Mercia, 15 

Pentney, priory of, 71, 165 

Pestilence, second great, 131- 

Peterborough Monastery, 26, 

31, 33 
Percy, Thomas, 123, 130- 

Pie, Hugh, 148 
Piers, Vincent, 204 
Plautius, Aulus, 2 
Playters, Lionel, 201 
Popes, aggression of, ^y 114; 

schism comes to an end, 

143 «. 
Potts, Sir John, 195 
Praemunire, statute of, 139 
Prideaux, Humphrey, Dean, 

Prophesyings in the diocese, 

Provisors, statute of, 139 

Ralegh, William de, Zj, 

89, 90 
Ralph, Luffa, bishop of Chi- 
chester, 51 



Ralph, Earl, 46, 55 

Recusants, laws against, 177 

Redman, William, 175 

Redwald, King, 8, 9 

Regulars, what they were, 
30 ». 

Repton, Abbey, 17 

Revenues of Pope from 
England, 87 

Reynolds, Edward, 205, 
209 ; author of the General 
Thanksgiving, 208 

Richard I., 79 

Robert, ** Arch illiensis," 235 

Robert of Yarmouth, arch- 
deacon of Canterbury, 102 

Robinson, John, 203 

Roger, bishop of Salisbury, 

Roger de Skerning, 94, 99 
Romans invade Britain, 2 ; 

left, 4 
Rome, appeals to, 80 
RuGG, William, 168 
Rushworth College founded, 


Sabbatarian Controversy, 

Saham-Tony School, ii 
Salisbury, John, bishop of 

Thetford, 168 
Salisbury, John, Suffragan, 237 
Salmon, John, 109, iii 
Sampson, abbot of Bury, 63, 

Sancroft, Archbishop, 208 
Sawtre, William, 137 
Scambler, Edmund, 175 
Scrope, Thomas, Suffragan, 

Seculars, what they were, 30 w. 
Sergius, Pope, 230. 
Sexburga founds convent at 

Sheppey, 15 

Sharp, John, Archbishop, 2.12 
Sheppey, convent founded by 

Sexburga at, 15 
Sigcbert, King, 10, 13 
Simon of Elmham, 87, 89 
Simon de Montfort, 87, 94 
Skelton, John, 155 
Skerning-, Roger de, 94, 

Smyrna, archbishop of, 140 

Society for Promoting Christian 
Knowledge, 218 

Sparrow, Anthony, Bishop, 
209, 210 

Stanbery, John, 151 

Stanley, Edward, 225-227 

Staunton, Lawrence, 180 

Stephen, King, 68 

Stigand, Cnut*s adviser, 35 

Strafford, Lord, beheaded, 

Stratford, archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 116 

Stratford, bishop of Winches- 
ter, III 

Sub-division of diocese, 19 

Suckling, £klmund, 179 

Sudbury, Simon, 135 

SuFFiELD, Walter de 
(Walter Calthorp), 90- 

Suffolk archdeaconry divided. 

Survey, the great, 47 

Sweyn, King, invaded East 

Anglia, 33 
Synod at St. PauPs, 107 
of Rome, 1089, 53 

Tanner, Thomas, chancellor 

of Norwich, 217 
Taxation, the Norwich, 91 
Tenison, Archbishop, 208, 

Thanksgiving, the General, 



written by Bishop Rey- 
nolds, 208 

Theobald of Placentia (Gre- 
gory X.), 100 

Theodore of Tarsus, 17, 18, 
19, 20, 230 

Thetford, church at, 47 ; 
priory of, 16$ 

Thirlby, Thomas, 168 

Thomas a Becket, archbishop 
of Canterbury, dispute with 
Henry II., 76 ; murdered, 
73 ; supporter, Bishop 
William, 73 

Thomas, Bishop, succeeds 
Felix, 14 

Thomas de Blumville, 
Bishop, 84 

Thorney Monastery destroyed 
by Danes, 26 ; revived, 31 

Tidfrith, bishop of Dunwich, 

Tillotson, Archbishop, 208 

Tonney, John, 155 

121, 139 

Trimnell, Charles, 219 
Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 

founded, 122 
Turbe, William, 68, 74 
Tyler, Wat, 135 
Tyllot, Thomas, 200 

Ultan, companion of Fursey, 

Underwood, John, Suffragan, 

Uniformity, Act of, 207 

Urban V., Pope, 132 

"Valor Ecclesiasticus," 163 
Venn, John, 225 
Vicarages in diocese, 145 
Vicars dependent on voluntary 
offerings, 125 

Wagstaffe, Thomas, bishop 

of Ipswich, 213 
Wakering, John, 143-145 
Walker, John, 206 
Walpole, Horace, quoted, 221 
Walpole, Ralph, Bishop, 

Walter, Hubert, Archbishop, 

Watton, Simon de. Bishop, 

Ward, Samuel, 186 
WalSingham, John of, 127 
Wedmore, the peace of, 27 
Wendling Abbey, 129 
Weremund, bishop of Dun- 
wich, 231 
Wesley, John, his ill-success 

in Norfolk, 222; last visit, 

Whitchurch, Nicholas, 109 
White, Francis, 183 

Dr. John, 183 

William, story of, 148, 

" White Ship " founders, 64 
Whitfield, 222 
Whitefoot, John, 207 
Whitgift, Archbishop, 178 
Whiston, William, 217 
Wickliffe, John, 131 
William I., 44 
William de Beaufeu, 

bishop of Thetford, 48- 

Williams, Hugh, 200 
Wilred, Bishop, 231 
Winchelsey, Robert, arch 

bishop of Canterbury, 107 
Windel, Robert, SuffragaD^ 

Witberga, 16 y 
Woodhouse, Sir Thomas, 195 
WuUey, Florence, Suffragan, 

Wulstan, Bishop, 41 



Wurzburg, council at, 76 

Wrawe, John, 135 

Wren, Matthew, 190-191, 

Wymondham Priory, 61 
.Wyatt*s rebellion, 170 

Yarmouth church founded, 

59 ^/consecrated, 104 
Yaxley; Anthony, 159 «. 
YoNGE,. Philip, Bishop, 223 
Young, Edward, 202 





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